Recycling is not just the responsible thing to do; it can also be a moneymaker, and that fact should get everybody’s attention. As technology progresses, the recycling process is becoming more and more cost-effective, and the demand for recyclable waste products such as paper, glass, metal and plastic is growing as more and more products are discovered that can be made from the recycled materials.
Northamptonshire is one area that is proving the point. Northampton Borough Council is one of only a few in the U.K. that has its own MRF, or Materials Reclamation Facility.
The recycling centre in St. James at the Westbridge Depot is making serious money for the Northampton Council. The centre recycles an average of 25 tonnes of paper every day, and the sale of recycled paper can bring in as much as £2.500 daily. That’s not even counting all the other materials that are sorted at the Depot.
The MFR actually has two parts, one for paper and one for plastic and metal. Some of the sorting is done by hand, some by machine. The ‘raw material’ comes both from recycling banks around the city and from kerbside collections. Paper is moved along on conveyor belts as it is ‘filtered’ by hand to remove anything that’s not paper, then dumped in a gigantic pile where compressors turn it into bales, ready to be taken away for recycling into various grades of paper and sold.
From other types of household and commercial waste products, an amazing variety of ‘re-new’ items can be made. Old CD’s turn into counter tops, raggedy rubber boots into flooring, and a host of other reincarnations of ‘trash’ into items we buy every day.