Reports filtering out of the North-East would suggest that Middlesbrough is experiencing a 'recycling boom'.
In 2005, Middlesbrough had one of the lowest recycling rates in the country at just 11%. To top it off, in 2007, the town was voted the worst place to live in the UK. In 2015, 'Boro' has progressed to second on the list of worst places to live, bettered (or worsened) only by Hull. It's not all doom and gloom through...
The town of 140,000 residents, which only 215 years ago was a farm of just 25 people, has dramatically improved its recycling efforts considerably over the last 18 months.
Starting back in October 2013, the council received a £3.6 million grant to promote and improve recycling. That money was invested into supplying residents with new black bins, blue-lidded recycling bins and green compost bins.
Between 2005, when recycling rates were just 11%, and 2013, local recycling rates more than doubled to a more reasonable 23%. In 2014, after the introduction of the new bins, recycling rates shot up to an average of 37.4%. This is almost on par with the best performing councils in the country, who regularly achieve rates over 40%.
The investment went further than just giving new bins out. A booklet was made to educate residents to the benefits of recycling and how waste should be separated. After a period of trial and error, a second booklet was made and delivered to areas that were still suffering from a contamination issue. What they found was that communal residencies, such as apartment blocks, had some residents recycling and some not. As not to discourage those who were recycling, waste collected from these few residencies is collected and sorted manually.
Continued efforts could see Middlesbrough catch up with many other councils and potentially reach the 2020 target of a 50% recycling rate. With proper education and investment, this recycling boomtown should have little trouble getting there! New recycling centre J&B Recycling
, a waste management company from from Hartlepool, will build a new recycling facility in Teeside after successfully clearing a 9m high dumping ground on the site. The new facilities will create 25 jobs initially, but with a £7.5m investment from the Business Growth Fund, many more can be expected. J&B Recycling
already employs over 175 staff across their three waste transfer stations in the North East. The new facility will be able to help them tackle thousands of tonnes more of Middlesbrough's waste packaging. The expansion was approved on the agreement that J&B could clear the rubbish dump, which had grown to the size of a football pitch!
Vikki Jackson Smith, the managing director at J&B Recycling, said “We are delighted to have now completely cleared this unsightly tip. It is a win-win situation for all as we have laid the foundations for our new facility to expand on our current business of recycling packaging and create jobs for local people. It means we can significantly increase our capacity for processing in a more efficient manner so we can become more competitive and attract more contracts to the area.”
With a new recycling facility being built to accommodate commercial and domestic waste, and blossoming recycling rates around the area, the future looks promising for Middlesbrough's rubbish issue.
To see what Plastic Expert is doing in Middlesbrough, click here