SWM welcomed students and staff from Petroc's Sustainable Resource Management course to the South Molton transfer station. Students were able to see how waste is separated, discuss the advantages of a material recycling facility and the responsible management of resources. SWM is working in partnership with Petroc to raise awareness and provide scholarly activities, site visits and work expereince opportunities. Discussions with the students covered lots of topics, from sea borne plastics finding their way into the food chain, to what you can and can’t put into your recycling box, to why, even though regulations exist to prevent it, some manufacturers and retailers insist on over-packaging products, and using non-recyclable or very difficult to recycle materials.
During the tour of our waste transfer facility students were able to look at our newly installed Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), a very large machine designed to separate and grade recyclable items ranging from such sources as construction and demolition sites, and general waste from businesses, by a combination of mechanical processes as well as a physical picking station.
At SWM & Waste Recycling, our mission is to work with businesses and the local community to help them recycle as much of their waste as possible, and then find a non-landfill solution for the wastes that cannot be recycled.
Every waste producing business is responsible for applying what is known as ‘the waste hierarchy’ principles as required by the EU Waste Framework Directive. These put simply are; prevention, reuse, recycling, other recovery and finally disposal.
Landfill as a waste management solution is very harmful to the environment due to greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, that are emitted from the decomposing organic elements of the waste, as well as being an extremely smelly, unpleasant scar on our landscape.
Fortunately, our waste disposal authorities are now tasked with seeking alternatives to landfill. Modern energy from waste technologies mean that a cleaner solution is available, and due to sophisticated emissions cleansing, a far cry from the noxious incinerators of days gone by, with a number of different variants such as gasification and pyrolysis.
As a private waste management company, we are free to choose which method of disposal to use for non-recyclable waste. We work to the principal of sending nothing to landfill as a matter of choice, because we know it’s better for the environment, and comes with the added benefit that it makes SWM &Waste Recycling pretty much unique in the area, as almost every other major waste management company is unfortunately still using landfill as their disposal option.
A cultural shift in attitude is still needed. Here in North Devon, as in many other areas, despite the provision of an extremely comprehensive household recycling collection service, including food waste, most plastics, tins, card paper, textiles, the list goes on, only around 45% of our domestic household waste is being recycled.
Ultimately , whether as a business or a private individual, we have a collective responsibility to take a long term view on the way we treat our environment, whether that is managing our waste or looking for sustainable ways to heat and power our homes and businesses, the way we shop and the way we travel. If we all play our part we can make a difference
To read more about the visit and current waste management challenges please follow this lnik to www.361energy.org/2016/05/13/waste-management-at-swm-waste-recycling-ltd