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Medway households encouraged to think blue, not black.

Date: 11/01/2008           Category: Waste and Recycling

Households across Medway will be receiving more free blue bags for recyclable waste as the council steps up its campaign to encourage people to go green. From Friday, 25 January, the free black refuse bags will no longer be given to households in Medway, but will be replaced with packs of blue bags every 13 weeks. The delivery of blue bags will start on Monday, 28 January. Medway Council’s Think Blue Not Black campaign is being launched to encourage everyone to reduce the amount of recyclable rubbish that is sent to landfill sites. Medway recycles more than 32 per cent of domestic waste, which is slightly more than the national average of 32 per cent, but needs to do even more to meet targets to recycle and compost 40 per cent of our waste by 2010/11. Everyday items like fizzy drinks bottles, baked bean cans, junk mail and newspapers can all be disposed of through the council’s blue box and bag doorstep collection, rather than being put in the black bags and sent to landfill. Nearly 70 per cent of rubbish currently sent to landfill sites could be recycled or composted . Medway Council already pays £24 per tonne in landfill tax, which is set to rise to £32 in April. The council is also restricted in the amount of biodegradable waste it sends to landfill and could be fined up to £150 for every tonne of biodegradable waste above this allowance. If Medway households continue to send current levels of waste to landfill then by 2011 we could be fined up to £1.5 million for exceeding allowances, money that could be spent on improvements to services. Medway currently is reviewing all its services ahead of a new waste collection and disposal contracts in 2009. These changes, swapping black sacks for blue bags, will be a small step towards minimising the amount of waste sent to landfill. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “The UK is only a small island and we simply cannot keep sending our rubbish to landfill sites, which is why everyone needs to look at ways to reduce, reuse and recycle their household waste. “Medway’s blue bag scheme has proved to be very successful and the demand for doorstep collections remains high. “People in Medway are now recycling more than ever before – in 2006/07 Medway recycled almost a third of its rubbish. While this is a great achievement, there are still ways we can improve our highly valued waste and recycling services and make recycling even easier. “And while recycling is obviously very important, reducing the amount of waste we produce in the first place is just as important. By making informed choices about what we buy and use, we can all make choices that help reduce the amount we have to throw away.” All Medway’s blue bag waste is taken to the state-of-the-art Materials Recycling Facility in Rainham, Essex, which can handle 50,000 tonnes of material a year. To find out more about recycling in Medway, please visit www.medway.gov.uk/recyclenow, call Customer First on 01634 333333 or email customer.first@medway.gov.uk ********************************************************************* Recycling tips Recycling is collected fortnightly. Please put out your recycling by 7am on collection day and make sure it’s next to, but separate from, your rubbish for landfill. If you have a blue box use it for heavier items like paper and cardboard. Blue bags are ideal for lighter or bulkier items like tins or plastic bottles. Don’t put extra recycling out in black bags – these are treated as rubbish for landfill and will not be recycled. If you run out of blue bags you can collect more free from Medway Council contact points – call 01634 333333 for more information. Reduce your waste and improve the condition of your garden at the same time by investing in a compost bin. Visit www.recyclenow.com/home_composting to order a reduced-price compost bin. Recycling questions: What happens to my recyclable waste after it is collected? It’s taken to our Materials Recycling Facility in Rainham, Essex. Here the recycling goes through a number of mechanical, electronic and manual processes that separates it into different types of materials. The separated materials are then sent to companies that recycle them into new products. Why can’t yoghurt ports or margarine tubs be recycled? Recycling depends on people or companies wanting to use the materials for recycling. Currently we only have a reliable and viable market for the types of plastics used to make plastic bottles and carrier bags. Even though other types of plastic packaging may be made from the same grade of plastics, they cannot easily be separated form the non-recyclable materials during the sorting process. I always fill up my blue box. Please can I have another? Unfortunately we can only provide one blue box per household or maisonette. Don’t forget you can use blue bags for recycling that won’t fit into your blue box. My blue box has been lost or damaged. What can I do? Please call Customer First on 01634 333333 or email customer.first@medway.gov.uk for a new one.