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Where does Cornwall's recycling really go?

Where does Cornwall's recycling really go?

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 4:19pm 15th August 2018. (Updated at 4:21pm 15th August 2018)

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Every fortnight in Cornwall households take out their brightly-coloured recycling bags filled with rubbish which can be recycled and reused to be collected from the kerbside.

Or you might load up your car after a clear-out and take your waste to your local household waste recycling centre.

But have you ever wondered where it goes so that it can be turned into something new?

And how about what it is used for? Did you know that some of your waste can actually be used to create everything from bowling greens to aeroplanes?

A list provided by Cornwall Council shows where every material which is collected in the county goes and what happens to it.

The handy guide will reassure those who fear that, rather than recycling waste, their rubbish is instead dumped into landfill or is incinerated.

Paper and cardboard collected in Cornwall is sent to Somerset and Kent, with the paper reprocessed into 100% recycled paper for newsprint and packaging while the cardboard is sorted and reprocessed into new cardboard.

Steel cans are sent to Coventry where they are recycled into products including cars, bridges and cans.

The West Midlands, Warrington and Leicestershire are the destinations for aluminium cans and foil where they are melted and turned into ingots which are then used to make products ranging from foil trays to aeroplanes.

Plastic bottles, tubs, pots and trays are sorted, shredded, melted and
used to make products like garden furniture, refuse bags and drainage pipes in Rochdale, Leicestershire and Bedford.

Glass bottles and jars are shipped out of Falmouth to Portugal where they are made back into glass bottles.

Clothes and textiles are sent to the West Midlands for reuse in developing
countries or shredded to make cleaning cloths and felt materials for automotive soundproofing.

Both household and car batteries go to Birmingham where useful materials are recovered by using different methods depending on type of battery.

Of course there is a lot of bric-a-brac which can accumulate in our homes but can be reused. This is taken to Penzance and Bodmin where it is sold locally for reuse.

Engine oil goes to Worcestershire to be recovered, cleaned and resold while fridges and freezers go to Liskeard where chlorofuorocarbons (CFC) are recovered from refrigeration gases and insulation panels. Metals, plastic and foam are separated for use in manufacturing.

All garden waste is composted for agricultural and horticultural use in Bodmin, Roche, Hayle and Trerulefoot.

And gas bottles are sent to London, Kent and Leicester where they are collected and sent back to the company of origin.

Rubble goes to St Austell and Hayle where it is reused as an aggregate for building purposes.

Metal goes to Par where it is separated and sent off for recycling. Par is also the destination for small electrical equipment where metals, plastics, glass, batteries and circuit boards are separated and recycled or reused in manufacturing. That same process is also used for TVs and monitors which go to Liskeard.

Redruth is where tyres are sent and shredded into rubber chips suitable for
a variety of applications and for use in areas such as equestrian surfaces, play
areas, pathways, gardens and bowling greens.

Finally wood goes to Roche and Hayle where waste timber is processed and used as biofuel.

Cornwall Council has also started to recycle food and drink cartons, including Tetra Paks, which couldn’t be previously recycled.

However they can only be taken to household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) and not placed with kerbside recycling.

They can be taken to HWRCs in Connon Bridge, Falmouth, Helston, Launceston, St Austell, St Erth and United Mines.

The council is working with The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) to provide the service and all the cartons collected will go to its specialist recycling facility in Halifax.

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