How would you like to drive a bulldozer to lift up a few cubic metres of bottles in your front loader and drop them so they smash?
I expect in reality the novelty wears off very quickly, but it looked fun to us when a small group of borough councillors visited the Waste Transfer Station at Otterbourne as part of our review of Eastleigh’s glass recycling service.
Our kerbside collection vehicles take your bottles and jars to the transfer station where they are combined with the mixed glass collected in bottle banks from Eastleigh and other councils before being loaded onto articulated lorries for the journey to the recycling plant. The purpose of the smashing that looked so much fun is to maximise the capacity of the outgoing lorries.
It’s estimated that 85% of Eastleigh’s available glass is now collected for recycling, so Hedge Enders are playing their part when they put out their bottles and jars once a month for collection. And by the way, if you get through a lot of jam and coffee, you can get an additional black box free from the Council. It’s all reprocessed into new bottles – that’s why the Council can’t take window glass, mirrors, pyrex, light bulbs etc. It’s not the same sort of glass.
We saw the specialised equipment that contains and compresses our food waste. Already ten tonnes of food waste a day is being collected from Eastleigh households.
Southampton and Eastleigh between them collect three lorry-loads of green garden waste every day, which is all sent off for composting. If you want to complete the recycling loop you can buy the resulting soil improver at the local Household Waste Recycling Centre in Shamblehurst Lane.
Plasterboard is a recent addition to the growing list of materials that can be recycled in the UK. In this case, you have to take it to the HWRC, and the recycling process separates the gypsum plaster from the facing paper. The plaster is then used to manufacture new plasterboard.
The HWRC also separates waste wood which is collected at Otterbourne and sent off for chipping. Fuel briquettes are made from the chips.
Other dry recycling (plastic bottles, paper, card, and cans) is consolidated at Otterbourne and sent off to the Materials Recycling Facility at Alton for further sorting. Residual (black bin) waste is combined with street sweepings and goes to the incinerator at Marchwood for conversion into electricity.
These days only a small amount of household waste goes to landfill, and that is mainly bulky items such as mattresses. Eastleigh continues to lead the field among our neighbouring councils in terms of the types of recycling collected and the percentage of recycling material collected. And that to a large extent depends on people continuing to sort the material at home and put it in the right bin.