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Enfield Council have recently clarified what exactly is allowed in the blue recycling wheelie bins.  The main change is that plastic bags (including carrier bags) and plastic wrapping are no longer allowed, because other materials were being caught up in them.

For obvious reasons, the Council are adamant that nappies, even if unused, must not go in the blue bins, and the same is true of sanitary products.  The Council is taking a "Zero Tolerance" approach because of the problems such items cause - see this warning on their website.

More details of recycling and other waste collection arrangements.

blue lidded bin

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David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #2432 22 Nov 2016 12:52
What has confused me about the council's new advice is the instruction not to attempt the recycling of 'meat trays'. I think I know what they mean, which are trays which are made of a material which resembles polystyrene, but much of the meat and fish we buy comes in trays which appear to be standard plastic, exactly the same as the trays commonly used to project soft fruit.

So far we've resolved to carry on as before, although I intend to find out exactly what the situation is.
Joan Bayliss's Avatar
Joan Bayliss posted a reply #2446 24 Nov 2016 09:56
If in doubt, I look for the triangular recycling symbol, assuming that anything showing this is suitable for the blue bin. I have noticed that some plastic food trays have it and others don't.
Garry Humphreys's Avatar
Garry Humphreys posted a reply #2453 24 Nov 2016 23:13
Another thing that can't be recycled in the blue-lidded bins is food film, but this does not feature on the new notice, nor in the leaflet recently put through doors in the area. This has changed over the years but this is the current situation.
Garry Humphreys's Avatar
Garry Humphreys posted a reply #2469 01 Dec 2016 10:35
Not quite as simple as Joan Bayliss suggests! There's unfortunately a difference between what is recyclable and what Enfield actually recycles, plastic bags and food film being just two examples which have been acceptable in the past but currently are not! (Fortunately most supermarkets have a plastic carrier bag recycling bin.) This raises the question: If something can be recycled why isn't Enfield doing it? I raised this years ago with Cllr Charalambous and he took it up, but things keep changing. Why?
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #2470 01 Dec 2016 11:34
My understanding is that the choice of 'stuff' which can be recycled often depends on whether the Council can sell it - or perhaps dispose of it - to an organisation which can make use of it. However sometimes it can be our fault; for example recycling aluminium foil came to an end because too often it was blackened during the cooking process.

Probably even a small proportion of blackened foil in a batch makes recycling difficult.

Worth taking this up with councillors at a ward meeting?
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #2476 02 Dec 2016 18:56
Several questions about recycling in Enfield: Enfield is one of seven Boroughs forming the North London Waste Authority (NLWA), a waste disposal authority. All seven boroughs (waste collecting authorities) are required by statute to pass residual (“black bag” ) waste to the NLWA where it is either burnt at Edmonton or sent to one of many holes in the ground outside London. Recyclates are different and boroughs have the disposal option. Enfield has stood alone and uniquely amongst the seven does not send recyclates to the NLWA, instead it has arranged various term contracts with merchants. The result has been millions of pounds of savings for Enfield’s taxpayers. But recyclates are a commodity, contracts come and go and so therefore does the range of items that can be recycled at relative profit versus burning at any one time. The independent merchant recyclate infrastructure explains why what can be recycled in Enfield may not be when you are on holiday somewhere in the UK. It’s a complex equation and what might appear obvious as the optimal route is often not so, eg some authorities kerb separate glass (which can then be recycled into glass) compared with eg Enfield where it is in the overall mix meaning it is broken at the separating plant and only then good for eg roads. Much analysis and research has failed to conclude one such collecting methodology being better than the other.
So the best route to save us all the maximum money is to follow exactly what it says on the tin (bin) at the time.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #2598 12 Jan 2017 17:04
I've been chucking my recylables in standard plastic carrier bags every week since this notice and haven't noticed a jot of difference.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #2599 12 Jan 2017 19:03
Yes, nothing to notice at the collecting end of the process – unless the men refuse to take the blue wheelie – but at the MBT plant, where all recyclables are thrown in and via a series of vibrations, conveyor belts, gaps, magnets, lasers, electro-magnetic arms and the like, separated piles of eg milk cartons emerge, there is no automatic process for separating nor emptying plastic bags. So that means inside what is an already very dusty, dark and very noisy hanger there is an inner box where conveyor belts of partly sorted waste pass through. On either side of these lines are people masked-up, ear-plugged and heavily gloved whose role - and hugely long shift – is simply to pull out and empty where necessary the carrier bags and put them in large bins just behind them. See that in operation and you wouldn’t put a carrier in a blue wheelie again. It really is not an environment or task to wish on anyone.

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