Dealing with rubbish was the most popular blog for the last month (see below) so this week I visited ELC’s Kinwegar waste facility. Primarily this was to say ‘thanks’ to the eighty-odd members of the lorry crews for a winter we survived with distinction. When the snow was at its worst, these crews were out there, handling bins under conditions to give H&S inspectors heart attacks.
The much improved facilities the crews now enjoy have been open for a year now. After being cramped in draughty portakabins at Macmerry, they now have their own lockers, showers and heated drying areas so they no longer need go out into February dark in boots still clammy and damp from the day before.
But most impressive were the waste handling facilities themselves. Apart from a modern public recycling centre, the massive sheds allow both waste and recycling to be stored and sorted before almost half goes off to be used again while the rest is shipped in bulk to landfill at Dunbar. The managers were especially proud of the detailed separation they did and the top dollar income negotiable for quality bulk recyclate to off-set costs.
Even the design of the site is green, making good use of what would otherwise be waste land between a busy railway and road, sloping to allow rainwater runoff from both roofs and concrete aprons. This is then stored and used for the heavy amount of vehicle washing involved running the fleet. The two dozen bin lorries in the fleet enjoy semi-covered parking, protecting bin loading mechanisms from weather.
Bottom line is that the crews feel valued and motivated to continue dealing with the almost 100,000 tons a year that we discard. And with 40,000 tons no longer going to landfill, that’s a saving of £2.4m in landfill tax that itself gets recycled into better service.