Wigan householders urged to step up recycling as UK-wide campaign begins

Wiganers are being urged to top the recycling charts as the borough gears up for the national Recycle Week campaign.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 11:10 am
Area supervisor Tracy Roe

Today marks the start of the UK-wide, week-long scheme, and town hall bosses are asking households to put their current recycling routines under the spotlight.

The borough has received plaudits for topping the tables when it comes to recycling plastic products but improvements are being targeted for food waste.

Recent figures show recycling rates have improved from 43 to 53 per cent in recent years, out-performing national targets.

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Team leader Keanu Beavan with some of the items selected for The Brick charity

To shine a light on the issue, we took a trip to the FCC Environment recycling centre in Ince to see just how your rubbish gets sorted.

The recycling centre, on the Kirkless industrial estate in Makerfield Way, is one of three that FCC operates on behalf of Wigan Borough Council. The three sites compliment and complete the household waste and recycling services for residents in the borough, enabling them to recycle as much of their waste as possible, working towards the Governments’ desire to see 60 per cent recycling of all household waste.

A wide range of materials are accepted at the sites and as much of the material as possible is recycled into new things.

The staff spend 12 hours a day working hard in all weathers to support residents who bring materials in, and to ensure they are correctly sorted to maximize recycling. And their focus is on keeping residents safe during their visits.

Reporter Liam Soutar helps out at the recycling centre in Ince

A steady stream of locals are greeted at the entrance to the site by a friendly employee, who ask them what kind of waste they are bringing, before directing them towards the building.

If they have any items that cannot be recycled, the staff have a “meet and greet bible” full of information on where they can safely dispose of their waste.

Inside the huge recycling hub, there are a myriad of bays for things like clothing, carpets, rubble, garden waste, wood, paper, oils, metals, household appliances and more.

Staff even sift through bin bags full of household waste to salvage any recyclable items - a messy and unglamorous duty, but certainly an important one.

Some of the huge machinery in action at the recycling centre

Indeed, after having a go at splitting open around half a dozen bin bags ourselves, we found plenty of items could be saved for recycling, particularly old books and food boxes.

We were then taken beneath the recycling centre, into a dark underground area used for storing items that are in excellent condition. A cramped area, which requires a constant crouch to walk around, is teeming with unwanted bikes, televisions and furniture that are donated to charities like The Brick. Hospital equipment like crutches and wheelchairs are also saved and sent to those in need.

Compliance Manager Clare said the centre had seen a rise in recycling rates over the past few years, as more residents were becoming aware of the environmental impact of their household waste, having gotten used to the convenience of single-use plastics over the years.

“We are killing the planet, especially with plastic,” she said,

“We used to have our markets and our paper bags, and you weighed everything and you’d get your milk in a carton or glass bottles. But we wanted a one-stop shop where we could do it all, and we got supermarkets. And it made us lazy.”

She added: “Everyone has got to take some ownership for that, and we’ve got to try and not waste as much as we do, because we’re a throwaway nation.”

As part of the awareness week, council bosses are asking residents to recycle as much as they can around the home to establish good habits.

There are a range of ways in which residents can do their bit just at home, whether it’s from recycling cardboard toilet roll tubes and toothpaste boxes in the bathroom, empty cans and milk cartons in the kitchen or grass cuttings and weeds from the garden.

The council has also recently made recycling household waste easier than ever before with the introduction of electronic permits.

The new model allows people with vans and twin axle trailers to apply for a permit online via MyAccount and if the application is accepted, they can get venture to one of the three recycling centres in the borough within two hours armed with a reference and QR code.