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30 March 06
Councillor Bill Fulton, the Councilís spokesperson for Waste Management said: "Over the last year there have been major investment in the recycling infrastructure and to date the support from the public has been terrific. However, as the amount of waste we produce steadily increases there is no room for complacency if the current success is to be continued."
In 2005 The Highland Council opened four new Recycling Centres in Thurso, Wick, Dingwall and Nairn, and a number of other sites have been upgraded including major renovations at Henderson Drive in Inverness. Overall the Recycling Centres are exceeding their target, over 7000 tonnes in the first half of 2005/6, however thereís still room for improvement.
The Council is currently expanding the number of Recycling Points in the region and so far have deployed about 170 out of a target of 200. All of these sites currently take glass, most take paper and cans and in the future the hope is to have textile banks at as many as possible. Although these sites are slightly underperforming, only hitting 2400 tonnes out of a target of 2475 (97%) there is still room for a vast improvement. There are around 8000 tonnes of glass present in the household waste stream in Highland and currently only about 50% of this glass is made available for the Highland Council to send for reprocessing.
Kerbside recycling provided to about 46,500 houses gives the householder the opportunity to address their waste on two fronts, green waste in their brown bin and paper and tins/cans in their blue box. Green waste collections have surpassed all expectations. This is great news in the fight to reduce green house gas emissions caused by biodegradable material going to landfill. However, the blue box collection tells a different story. While the amount of paper collected is just under target at about 87% of the expected tonnage , the amount of food tins and drinks cans collected is disappointing. The collection is currently only recovering 15% of the expected tonnage.
Councillor Fulton said: "While the overall picture is one of success and we have the real possibility of reaching our recycling rate of 17.6% by April, the amount of waste we all create is growing and therefore the amount of materials we need to recycle to maintain this success is growing. Christmas is a time when we buy more, eat more and drink more than usual. Approximately 40,000 tonnes of Aluminium is thrown away in the UK and we creating approximately 30% more waste over the holiday period, the majority of which normally ends up in landfill. Up to 60% of the waste that is thrown away could be recycled or composted.
"It is also estimated that for every tonne of waste produced in our homes, five tonnes has already been produced in manufacturing and 10 tonnes at the point where the raw material was extracted. So before congratulating ourselves on what we have already done, lets all have a think about what we can do in the future."
The Highland Council's Spokesman for Waste Management, Councillor Bill Fulton said: "This Christmas why not make a special effort to try and reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill by using the improved recycling facilities in Caithness provided by The Highland Council?"
The Recycling Centres in Thurso and Wick will be open as usual apart from closing all day of 25-27 December and the 1-4 January. Apart from these dates, the Thurso Centre will be open seven days a week from 11am-4.00pm over the holidays and Wick will be open Sundays from 11.00am ~ 5.00pm and then from Thursday to Saturday from 11.00am to 8.00pm. Both Centres will accept your extra cardboard packaging, old real Christmas trees, Christmas cards, paper wrapping paper (plastic & foil based paper cannot be recycled), tins, cans, glass bottles & jars for recycling.
There are also 13 Recycling Points throughout Caithness including several new sites at Thrumster, Watten and Dunbeath. All these sites have been upgraded to accept paper (including paper wrapping paper and Christmas cards), tins, cans and glass bottles & jars for recycling.
If you have a Kerbside Recycling collection from your property don't forget to recycle your Christmas cards, paper wrapping paper, extra food tins and drink cans using your recycling box after Christmas. Old real Christmas trees can also be put out in your brown bin but please make sure they are cut into easy to manage pieces and put in the bin.
Councillor Bill Fulton added: "Instead of throwing away all your vegetable and fruit peeling, start your own compost heap this Christmas and by this time next year, you will have free, nutritious compost to help make your garden flourish. Also last years old toys and unwanted gifts can be donated to your local charity shop rather than throwing them away as there is sure to be someone who will appreciate them."
Local firm, John Gunn & Son was contracted by the Council to build the new facility which took approximately 12 weeks to complete.
Householders will now be able to take cans, car batteries, cardboard, electrical appliances, engine oil, garden waste, gas cylinders, glass bottles and jars, paper, rubble & soil, scrap metal, textiles, tyres, white goods and wood to the site where separate containers and skips will be available to collect the material to be recycled. A special container will be provided for people to donate furniture and household goods to Homeaid Caithness for reuse.
Householders will be met at the site entrance by an operative who will direct them to the correct containers and are advised to separate their waste before they go the site. The Recycling Centre will be open from 11am - 4pm seven days a week.
It is hoped that 60% of the waste that is taken to the Recycling Centre will be recycled and add 2.5% to the Council's 18% recycling target.
From 1st November 2005 the Wick Recycling Centre will be operating winter opening hours and will be open from 11.00am - 4.00pm seven days a week. There is also a recycling facility at the Seater Landfill which now accepts cans, car batteries, cardboard, electrical appliances, engine oil, garden waste, gas cylinders, glass bottles & jars, paper, rubble & soil, scrap metal, white goods and wood for recycling and is open Monday-Friday 8.00am - 4.00pm and Saturdays 8.00am-12.00pm.