Recycling Domestic Waste

The Naked Scientists spoke to Rebecca Weymouth, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Waste Partnership
05 March 2006

Interview with 

Rebecca Weymouth, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Waste Partnership


Chris - Recycling. It's something that I've only recently really started taking seriously now that I know what I know about what's happening to our planet. But what actually is the point of recycling? Does it all add up to a benefit for the planet?

Rebecca - It really does and every little helps. People may think that they don't have that much rubbish and is it really worth me putting that one can in the bin. But it really is worth recycling all the materials that the councils ask you for.

Kat - So what types of things can actually be recycled?

Rebecca - It depends on where you live, so do check with your local council. The classics are obviously paper, glass, cans, garden waste and plastics in some areas.

Kat - What about things like clothes and electrical equipment?

Rebecca - Clothes are obviously another classic. They're more traditionally recycled through taking them to a local supermarket and they can go directly to benefiting charities as well. Electrical equipment is an exploding market and can be recycled if you take them to your local site and they get taken off to specialist reprocessors. They can break them down, take out all the plastic metals and separate them for recycling.

Kat - You hear these stories that some people recycle glass or newspaper and it actually costs more environmentally and in terms of energy than making it from scratch. Is this really the case?

Rebecca - No it's not. The paper industry and the glass and metal industries rely heavily on second hand materials because there's huge energy savings from recycling. For instance, recycling aluminium cans saves 95% of the energy it would take to use primary resources. You get huge economic and energy savings from using recycled materials.


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