Inside Amey Waterbeach Waste Administration Park: We came upon what actually occurs to your recycling

With the conflict on plastic a sizzling subject throughout not solely Cambridgeshire, however all the nation if not worldwide, there’s much more we might be doing to make an influence on our surroundings.

From ensuring we’re placing issues into the proper bins and even lowering the quantity of plastic we use within the first place, these small adjustments could make an enormous distinction.

However which objects go in what bin? And what are the issues that we predict might be recycled however really cannot? Are you able to truthfully say you might be utterly clued up?

The Waterbeach Waste Management Park, operated by Amey, is answerable for sorting, recycling and disposing of the waste of all the county. It at present handles round 400,000 tonnes of garbage every year, and of that, the location can take care of round 100,000 tonnes of recycling per 12 months.

However what actually occurs to your recycling as soon as it has been collected?

Francesca Hawes, operations supervisor on the Supplies Recycling Facility (MRF), took us on a tour of the location to search out out precisely what occurs to your waste and what can and can’t go in your blue bins.

The place does my recycling go?

The unloading area will reach 900 tonnes by the end of the week
The unloading space will attain 900 tonnes by the tip of the week, which can then be cleared all through the weekend

As soon as collected, the contents of your blue bin are taken again and unloaded at Waterbeach.

By the tip of the week, the MRF’s holding space can attain 900 tonnes of waste however with this website being a 24-hour operation, the weekend is spent clearing it again to empty and able to begin over again come Monday.


It’s then transferred to an enormous bag opener which frees the recycling and hundreds it onto a conveyor prepared for sorting.

The facility can receive around 1600 tonnes of recycling every week
The power can obtain round 1600 tonnes of recycling each week

In addition to all the mechanical sorting, workers work alongside the conveyor to test for objects that should not be there. Massive plastic movies and something that would get caught within the machines are eliminated by eagle-eyed workers as are undesirable objects similar to metallic objects.

Whereas we have been there, we noticed some carpet, a bike helmet and a big cuddly toy.

Francesca mentioned: “There’s all the time a cuddly toy.”

What occurs subsequent?

Optical sorters distinguish between different materials
Optical sorters distinguish between completely different supplies

The power is a maze of conveyor belts with the blended recycling then transported to a variety of intelligent machines that separate by materials.

One extracts the glass and cardboard, one other makes use of magnets to catch the cans. Optical sorters can separate the plastics from the paper.

One other machine makes use of infrared know-how to inform the completely different sorts of plastics aside. It will probably separate milk containers, clear plastics bottles and colored plastic bottles.

The Materials Recycling Facility is a maze of conveyor belts
The Supplies Recycling Facility is a maze of conveyor belts

As with the remainder of the method, there are a selection of workers working alongside conveyors to identify any objects which the machines might need missed.

As soon as sorted and the non-recyclable objects discarded, your recycling is then compressed into bales, able to be despatched to reprocessors to be turned again into new merchandise.

What does my recycling get became?

Once sorted, recycling is compressed into bales
As soon as sorted, recycling is compressed into bales

What you recycle might be became the identical factor because it was earlier than or one thing utterly unrecognisable to its former self.

Francesca mentioned: “The purer the recycling, the simpler it’s to show it again into what it initially was.”

In addition to new plastic bottles, your drinks bottles might be recycled into soccer shirts or fleeces.

However a lot of the plastic bottles collected from Cambridgeshire residents are turned again into new plastic packaging proper right here in Cambridgeshire by native firm, Charpak.

Cans are washed, flaked, stripped of color after which melted down and able to be made into something that requires aluminum. Your can may find yourself as an element for a automotive and even an aeroplane.


Have workers discovered any uncommon objects?

There have been some very strange discoveries found amongst recycling
Some very unusual discoveries present in recycling embody the internals of an electrical motor

We have been stunned to listen to about among the uncommon objects founds by workers, and a few which can be simply plain harmful.

Francesca and her colleagues have beforehand discovered a bowling ball, hand grenades, hand weapons, sea flares, fireworks, gasoline bottles and a ship anchor.

In actual fact, one stunning incident noticed a sea flare go off within the palms of a member of workers with them fortunate to not be injured.

Staff sort through recycling manually and have found some very dangerous items
Employees type by way of recycling manually and have discovered some very harmful objects

The end result may have been very completely different and demonstrates the significance of throwing out waste in the correct manner.

Clearly very captivated with recycling, Francesca mentioned: “It is the one factor that we are able to all do to make an influence, it is not that arduous.”

What occurs to the waste from my inexperienced bin?

Paper is currently sent to the Netherlands
Paper is at present despatched to the Netherlands

Do you know which you could choose up free soil conditioner from Waterbeach Waste Administration Park?

Your backyard and kitchen waste is composted to create a soil conditioner which members of the general public can flip up and take at no cost. Merely convey a shovel and assist your self.

Greater than 10,000 tonnes a 12 months is given away to native residents, particularly well-liked with native farmers. The soil is used to assist develop extra crops.


Amey in the neighborhood

Coloured plastics are separated from clear plastics
Colored plastics are separated from clear plastics

Situated on the facility and run in partnership with Cambridgeshire Council Council by certified lecturers, the on-site training centre teaches college kids about waste with enjoyable and interactive periods.

Tim Marks, planning supervisor at Waterbeach, mentioned: “Schooling is probably the most precious a part of every part we do, to forestall contamination.”

In addition to training, Amey works to offer again to the native space by way of The Amey Group Fund.

Up to now it has given greater than £5.5 million to tasks throughout Cambridgeshire together with village corridor restorations and new play areas.


How can I discover out extra?

Large wrapping, textiles and heavy metals are just some of the items that end in the reject bin
Massive wrapping, textiles and heavy metals are simply among the objects that finish within the reject bin

If you would like to search out out extra concerning the work that Amey does in Cambridgeshire or for extra recommendation on what you must or should not be recycling, go to the web site or get in contact.

The staff also can go to faculties, group teams and organisations to offer talks and displays about recycling, reuse and waste matters – all utterly freed from cost.

The place: Amey Waterbeach Waste Administration Park, Ely Street, Cambridge, CB25 9PQ

Electronic mail:

Name: 01223 815490

On-line: Click on here