What is recycling?

"Recycling" is one of the steps in taking responsibility for the waste that we generate.

  • Save - Dont buy it in the first place
  • Useless - If you have to buy it then dont buy to much of it
  • Reuse - Can you reuse it as something else?
  • Recycle - Can it go in a blue lid bin or have another use?

You can ...
Starting in the kitchen - get a "recycle bin" in the kitchen and read the Greenwich Council leaflet telling you what you can put in it. This bin will then be emptied into your big blue lid bin.

What is recycled "down the dump"?

The new improved "Civic Amenity Site" in Thamesmead, is now seperating what you want to "dump" as you unload your car. There are seperate containers for wood, metal, computers, bicycles, clothes, glass, scrap metal, oil, car batteries, fridges, paint, "green waste" - the list goes on!! Well done Greenwich Council.

You can ...
Before you take your waste "down the dump" - would it be better going to a recycle business (fridges, furniture) or a charity shop (clothes, toys), or even sold on eBay (LPs, TV).

Where does the blue lid waste go?

Well its a short distance down to Thamesmead where Greenwich Council and their partners Cleanaway seperate each type of material. It sounds impossible but its true!
Glass is seperated from plastic, paper is seperated from cans etc.
This place is called a Material Recycling Facility (MRF).

You can ...
Load up your blue lid bin with as much as possible. The more you recycle, the less Greenwich Council need to incinerate or dump in a landfill.

What happens next at the MRF?

The recycle dustbin van reverses into the MRF and the back of it rises open and all the recycle rubbish empties out onto the floor!
This is then scooped up and dropped into a friendly machine that viciously rips open the plastic bags.
Then the machines take over!!

You can ...
Maintaining your car (oil filter, tyre pressure) can reduce pollution and save you money. Filling up with petrol at night can reduce O3 because air pollution is less lightly at night - weird! Try to avoid using your car on your own.
Simple changes will improve air quality, reduce the number of people with breathing problems and asthma, and reduce the cost of running the NHS!

What do the machines do?

The machines shake, rattle and roll the rubbish onto conveyor belts sending each "stream" off in different directions. Glass goes one way, tins another, plastic milk bottles another, paper yet another.

You can ...
Put your old jars and bottles into the blue lid bin. They wont get washed and reused - they'll get crushed into dust and become part of a road somewhere!

What comes out the other end?

SO2 - Sulphar Dioxide. Produced by burning fossil fuels (coal and oil) at power stations. Volcanos produce their fare share!! When its mixed with rain it makes Acid rain. Yet again, its not good for asthma sufferers or people with breathing problems. It can irritate your eyes and lungs.

You can ...
Reduce the demand on power stations by using less electricity. Watch less TV!! Use Energy saving light bulbs. Unplug unused phone chargers and other adaptors. Relocate the fridge away from the oven! (Believe it or not, a full fridge will use less energy then an empty one! So as it empties, fill it with old newspapers!!)

What happens to the bails?

The bails are sold to the highest bidder and then driven off on the back of a lorry!

You can ...
Set yourself or your household a monthly or annual target to reduce the amount of packaging that goes into your bins.

What can I do?

Once you have taken the first step of using the recycle bin and loading it up as much as possible, the next step is to consider what you are putting into this bin and think of ways to reduce the amount you recycle.

You can ...
Take your old magazines to a hospital, stop eating so many crisps, buy fresh fruit, veg and meat thats not wrapped in cling-film. Buy larger boxes of cereals, milk from a milkman, the list goes on ...

What else can I do?

The main thing is to recycle as much as possible, reduce the amount that goes to landfill sites or is incinerated, and to reduce the amount we use.

You can ...
Tell your friends about recycling, what it means and why we should do it. Tell them also about using less which will save you money!

How long til the planet's resources runout?

No idea! Earths' population is still growing. In the year 1800 this planets population was approx. 1 billion. It then took only 80 years to hit 2 billion, and then only 30 years to hit 3 billion. The current population is over 6 billion and increasing fast.
It doesn't take a scientist to tell you that the rate of swallowing up the earth's resources is speeding up, and the rate the planet can naturally deal with waste is slowing down.

You can ...
Encourage other countries to reduce what they use and recycle more any way you can.