What happens to our rubbish once it leaves the doorstep?
Published: Wednesday 31st January 18
On average, each person in the UK throws away seven times their body weight (about 500kg) in rubbish every year. But what happens to that rubbish once it leaves our doorstep? We spent the day at the Western Riverside Waste Authority (WRWA) to find out.
Around 220 tonnes of recycling and 850 tonnes of black bag rubbish (excluding trade waste) from four boroughs (Wandsworth, Lambeth, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kennsington and Chelsea) is processed at the WRWA every day.
Black bag rubbish gets unloaded, compressed, and transported down the Thames to the Energy from Waste (EfW) Facility at Belvedere. Transporting rubbish by river rather than road saves over 100,000 lorry trips per year. Taking rubbish to the EfW also means that most black bag rubbish is converted into energy. The EfW exports 66 megawatts of electricity into the National Grid, enough to power over 100,000 homes.
Recycling on the other hand is sorted and separated into paper, plastics, glass, and cardboard and then bundled together into bales ready to be transported to places that buy materials to recycle and process into new items.
As well as sorting through hundreds of tonnes of recycling and rubbish each day, the WRWA work closely with local schools, such as Furzedown Primary school in Tooting, to educate young people about their impact on the environment. During their visit to the WRWA, year three students from Furzedown learnt about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.
Liz Horsfield, education team leader at WRWA said:
“It’s important that our young people see first-hand the amount of rubbish we produce so that it has a real impact on them, and hopefully their behaviour. Educating students at local schools now will hopefully result in a more conscious consumer in the future.”
Wandsworth Council are committed to working closely with the WRWA in support of their school and community engagement programme. Reducing, reusing and recycling are three things we could all do more of, and will also help us to keep our streets clean.
If you are a parent of a teacher at a school in Wandsworth and would like to find out how your school can get involved, please visit the WRWA website, or contact Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
How you can help keep Wandsworth clean:
- Leave your waste and recycling bags out on the correct day each week. See www.wandsworth.gov.uk/waste to check your collection day.
- Show your support on Twitter using the hashtag #KeepWandsworthClean
- Report flytips on the council website www.wandsworth.gov.uk/flytipping
- Pass on evidence that could help identify a flytipper in confidence to email@example.com
- Set up your own clean streets initiative with support from the Wandsworth Grant Fund. Visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/wgf
- Find the next Wandle Trust clean-up day at www.wandletrust.org
- Sign up to become one of Keep Britain Tidy’s #LitterHeroes
Contact Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how you can help #KeepWandsworthClean