Dad’s ‘green’ ex­per­i­ment left him with a pile of plas­tic he can’t re­cy­cle

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

A FAM­ILY man has called for Kirklees Coun­cil to make it eas­ier to re­cy­cle plas­tic af­ter dis­cov­er­ing a long list of items deemed un­suit­able for his green bin.

Michael Latcham is con­duct­ing his own 28-day ex­per­i­ment which in­volves gath­er­ing up all the plas­tics that can­not be re­cy­cled in Kirklees.

Just days into the ex­per­i­ment his fam­ily of four from Hon­ley has al­ready amassed a pile of yo­ghurt pots, but­ter tubs, plas­tic trays and other food-re­lated pack­ag­ing.

The fa­ther-of-two is a self­con­fessed ‘faddy per­son’ who en­joys sort­ing through the house­hold waste.

Michael said: “A lot of stuff that we buy, such as frozen piz­zas, are wrapped in plas­tic which is not re­cy­clable as Kirklees only re­cy­cles cer­tain types of plas­tics.”

He checked the coun­cil web­site and com­pared it with Calderdale Coun­cil’s own on­line guides.

“Kirklees has a list of things you can­not re­cy­cle whereas Calderdale has a list of ev­ery­thing that you can re­cy­cle,” he said.

As an ex­am­ple, yo­ghurt pots can be re­cy­cled via Calderdale’s weekly kerb­side col­lec­tion ser­vice but in Kirklees they can­not be placed in green bins.

Glass bot­tles and jars are part of kerb­side re­cy­cling in Calderdale but in Kirklees householders have to take them to bot­tle banks.

Michael, who works as a self­em­ployed floor­ing spe­cial­ist and is mar­ried to Holly, said he had de­cided to look into re­cy­cling af­ter watch­ing a video of a woman in Los An­ge­les talk­ing about the dif­fi­cul­ties of re­cy­cling.

He also watched the BBC Blue Planet doc­u­men­tary which re­ported on the amount of plas­tic in the world’s oceans.

Kirklees Green Party coun­cil­lor An­drew Cooper said he would like to see more plas­tics be­ing re­cy­cled but the cur­rent coun­cil con­tract with waste firm Sita was fixed and couldn’t be changed.

“Things can­not be changed un­til that con­tract is up,” he said. “When the con­tract comes up for re­newal there is an op­por­tu­nity to look again, to try to get best value.”

He said a fu­ture op­tion could be to work with neigh­bour­ing author­i­ties such as Calderdale and Brad­ford to im­prove the way waste is dealt with.

He added: “An­other op­tion is for Kirklees to bring the ser­vice ‘in­house.’”

Clr Cooper is urg­ing householders to put pres­sure on politi­cians.

“I am a Green coun­cil­lor and I think it is im­por­tant,” he said. “We do want to re­duce plas­tics that are out there.

“We have to re­duce the amount of plas­tic that is pro­duced in the first place.”

Clr Cooper said some green waste col­lected in Kirklees ended up be­ing Michael Latcham with a big bag of var­i­ous plas­tics which can­not be re­cy­cled by Kirklees and can’t be put in his green bin (right) pro­cessed at a fa­cil­ity in the North East but it wasn’t clear what hap­pened to it after­wards.

A Kirklees Coun­cil spokesman said a list of items that can be re­cy­cled could be found at www.kirklees. gov.uk/re­cy­cling

He added: “With re­gards to plas­tic, at present we can only re­cy­cle plas­tic bot­tles in­clud­ing pop/milk bot­tles; clean­ing prod­uct bot­tles; sham­poo and shower gel bot­tles etc for re­cy­cling through our kerb­side re­cy­cling col­lec­tion.

“Hard plas­tics (such as large child toys, gar­den fur­ni­ture etc) are also col­lected for re­cy­cling at some of the House­hold Waste Re­cy­cling Cen­tres.

“Plas­tic bot­tles col­lected from res­i­dents’ green bins are de­liv­ered to a Ma­te­ri­als Re­cy­cling Fa­cil­ity (MRF) in Hud­der­s­field.

“The MRF is one of the coun­cil’s waste treat­ments fa­cil­i­ties, op­er­ated by a pri­vate con­trac­tor un­der a longterm PFI con­tract.

“Plas­tic bot­tles are sep­a­rated man­u­ally from other green bin ma­te­ri­als at the MRF, plas­tic bot­tles are then baled and sent to a plas­tics re­cy­cling pro­ces­sor.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion of peo­ple like Mr Latcham who re­cy­cle ev­ery­thing they can but a lot of peo­ple could still re­cy­cle more just by us­ing their green bin in­stead of their grey one.

“A re­cent anal­y­sis of house­hold waste found that 23.6% of the av­er­age grey bin could have been re­cy­cled in the green bin.

“This in­cludes paper (9.1%), plas­tic bot­tles (7.5%), card (3.6%) and food tins and drinks cans (3.4%).”

The spokesman added: “In ad­di­tion to re­cy­cling more we try to en­cour­age peo­ple to look at ways to re­duce waste and are cur­rently work­ing with peo­ple in Raven­sthorpe in part­ner­ship with Sains­bury’s to de­crease food waste.

“The learn­ing from this will be shared with peo­ple liv­ing across the district in the fu­ture.

“We have also re­cently re­ceived fund­ing from DEFRA to in­ves­ti­gate re­cy­cling other waste streams such as gar­den waste, food waste and other types of pack­ag­ing.

“When we look at what we can re­cy­cle we need to en­sure that this will be sus­tain­able and not in­crease costs, as these would have to be passed on to the tax­payer.”

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