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SITA UK records a six per cent rise in waste recycling

Thousands of tonnes of recycled waste from the former Castle Morpeth area of Northumberland is to be taken to the county’s new sorting centre from the beginning of next month.

As of October 1, the 4,500 tonnes of paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles that are picked up during kerbside collections in the former Castle Morpeth Council area will be transported to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at West Sleekburn, where it will be sorted and sold on for re-use.

The £12 million state-of-the art recycling facility and waste transfer station at West Sleekburn was officially opened in April as part of Northumberland County Council’s £28 million PFI waste management contract with SITA UK.

The materials sorting equipment within the MRF is among the most advanced in the UK and is expected to improve recycling rates in the county even further. Between April and June this year, SITA UK recorded a six per cent rise in recycling compared to the same period in 2008.

Recycled waste from the former districts of Tynedale, Alnwick and Berwick has been taken to the MRF since it opened. However, recyclable waste from Castle Morpeth, Wansbeck and Blyth Valley areas will be transferred there during the next 18 months, when existing contracts end.

Morpeth’s recycled waste will transfer at the start of October, with Wansbeck and Blyth Valley following suit in March 2010 and May 2011.

However, the change will have no impact on residents, and their kerbside collections will continue as normal.

SITA UK is working with Northumberland County Council to ensure that only eight per cent of the county’s household waste is sent to landfill by 2012, by encouraging people to reduce their household waste and increase recycling, and by sending non-recycled, general waste to an energy-from-waste facility in the Tees Valley. There, it is burned to generate electricity, which is supplied to the National Grid.

Cllr Alan Thompson, Executive Member for Environment for Northumberland County Council, said: "The new recycling plant has been a great success, so it is good to know that Morpeth’s recycled waste will also be sent there soon.

"We have invested heavily on the latest technology to enable Northumberland to lead the way when it comes to waste reduction and recycling, and are very pleased to see residents supporting us by doing their bit for the environment. We urge them to continue reducing their household waste wherever possible, and by re-using and recycling whatever they can."

Richard Hinchcliffe, Regional Manager for SITA UK in Northumberland, said: "We are looking forward to receiving yet more recycled materials into the West Sleekburn site, but residents in Morpeth should feel assured that it will have no impact on their waste collections at all. Northumberland has a great capacity for dealing with recycled waste, so there is no reason why these targets cannot be met."

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