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Recycling Rewards on offer

Across the North East

Residents right across the region have the opportunity to share a prize fund of £10,000 from the North East Recycling Awards simply by recycling more of their waste.

Five councils including Durham, Newcastle, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland are encouraging their households to recycle more aerosols, glass jars and cartons in order to boost recycling across the region.

Each month one lucky recycler in each council area will win a prize to the value of £250. The scheme runs until the end of September 2013.

To participate residents simply register online and they will receive a set of stickers which they then apply to all the aerosols, glass jars and cartons they are recycling. Every month one winning item is then selected at random in each local authority area, with that person winning a prize of £250.

So far over 50 people have benefited from the scheme, which first ran in 2011, by winning prizes as well as many tonnes of waste being recycled, preventing these items from ending up in landfill. Sue McClellan, Waste Aware North East said

We ran a similar initiative in 2011 which had a great impact on recycling rates in the region. People in the North East have established themselves as good recyclers who have achieved excellent recycling rates.

This scheme is focusing specifically on three items that can easily be recycled but are often overlooked. People are always surprised to hear that aerosols can be recycled and until recently most cartons weren’t accepted. So we are hoping to spread the word and boost recycling in homes right across the region.

Each household produces around one tonne of rubbish every year which means that in the UK, households throw away over 29.1 million tonnes of waste. Today’s rubbish, compared to pre-1960s rubbish, contains more products that don’t break down when they are put in the ground. Packaging waste makes up about a quarter of all of the rubbish that people put in their bin and most of this packaging waste could be recycled rather than heading to landfill.

In Durham, Newcastle, South Tyneside and Sunderland people are being asked to recycle aerosols, glass jars and food and drink cartons as well as the many other items they already recycle. In Northumberland the specific items to recycle are aerosols and hard plastic bottles.

Glass jars are very easy to recycle – they simply need to be rinsed out first. The energy saved from recycling one glass jar will power a 100 watt light bulb for almost an hour or a computer for 20 minutes.

Empty aerosols should be treated simply as metal cans. Metal is one of the easiest materials to recycle, and in doing so reduces the carbon footprint of the product it makes by saving energy and using less raw materials. Recycling just seven aerosol cans, will save enough energy to power a 60 watt light bulb for 26 hours.

Until recently food and drink cartons were not able to be processed in the UK and many people are still in the habit of putting these in their general rubbish bin not their recycling bin. Many local authorities now have processing facilities for cartons and these items can now be recycled. The cardboard is made into paper bags and envelopes and the leftover plastic and aluminium mix can be used in furniture or to generate energy.

The reward scheme managed by Waste Aware North East is being funded by DEFRA and is supported by Durham County Council, Newcastle County Council, Northumberland County Council, South Tyneside County Council, Sunderland City Council, SIG Combibloc and Valpak Limited.

Waste Aware North East is a project with the aim of raising awareness of waste issues and recycling opportunities. The partnership brings together stakeholders from across the North East to work towards changing the way people think about waste and helping everyone to do their bit by promoting waste awareness messages and encouraging cooperation between partners on waste communications.


Suzanne Whelan

Happy and sassy and definitely sustainable.
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