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Kerbside recycling scheme review after contamination

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ST Saviour’s kerbside recycling scheme has been put under review after materials were contaminated with significant volumes of nappies, used tissues, food waste and full pots of paint.

The St Helier recycling depot

The initiative was suspended at the start of lockdown to protect workers and was restarted on 15 June.

Now the parish has issued a statement saying that its recycling bins at Rue des Prés Trading Estate have been withdrawn and its kerbside services are under review.

‘The St Saviour kerbside recycling scheme resumed on 15 June and we have had four collections to date,’ the statement says. ‘However, we are again seeing an extremely high volume of contaminants being put in with the recycling.

‘This has included used tissues, nappies, food waste – often unopened food waste still in packaging and even pots of paint. We have had open paint pots in the recycling which leaked, causing the 1.5 ton of recycling in the truck at the time to be contaminated and rendered useless for recycling. This is not acceptable.

‘It only takes one single contaminant to be placed in with the recycling to make the entire bag (or even whole bin) null and void. Used tissues, cleaning wipes and nappies also put the workforce at high risk of contamination.

Meanwhile, Tony Andrews, St Helier’s director of parks and open spaces, who has responsibility for the parish’s recycling scheme, said that his parish had been experiencing similar issues but things were now improving.

‘We did initially have a few problems but it seems to have improved markedly. We did have a lot of face masks and other bits and pieces,’ he said.

‘Yoghurt pots, clingfilm, Tetra Pak cartons, used take-away pizza boxes and things with food on were coming in – especially during lockdown – with bits of pizza and other things in. Once food waste gets into the recycling bags, it spoils quite a lot of the material coming through.’

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Mr Andrews added that sometimes parishioners forgot that recycling materials had to be sorted by hand and it was essential that parishioners followed the rules to protect their workers.

‘If someone throws in something they should not and it slips through and goes in with the load it ruins quite a substantial amount of product which we would get charged to dispose of. We have a trailer going out every week to France to make new products, which is what it is all about,’ he said.

According to Mr Andrews, cardboard collected in St Helier is sent to a facility near Les Mans to make brown paper, light card and paper is sent to Nantes to make brown paper used in cardboard, and steel is sent to a foundry between Rennes and Nantes to make counterweights for cranes and forklifts. Meanwhile, PET-type plastic is sent to a facility near Paris to be turned into bottles. Aluminium is sent to a foundry near Angers to make various products.

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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