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I did the Norfolk Council/Garden Organic Compost Master Course last week and thought I would share some of the amazing information we were taught by the wonderful hard working tutors.

The first day they took us to a landfill site to show what happens when we produce vast quantities of rubbish and don't compost anything. It was such a depressing sight; in the middle of beautiful Norfolk countryside there was this huge mound of bare earth where the site had been 'capped off' with pipes running out of it to release the methane and leachate (some horrible liquid produced by rotting rubbish). They were still using part of the area as current landfill and all the trees surrounding it were festooned with dirty plastic bags.

Then they took us to this very new, clean facility where they do composting on an industrial scale; all out kitchen waste which in King's Lynn area we have to separate out plus green waste is composted using the same process that you or I would use, but it has to be indoors because it is kitchen stuff. The resulting compost which looks and smells good is bought by local farmers who love using it. Over the next few days I will post more about the course as I read all the literature I came away with. Any questions? No sniggering at the back there!


Isn't this something that should have been in place years ago, all these mounds of festering rubbish that as a species we have been dumping for generations, all it takes is a little organisation.

I don't even bother with a bin collection and recycle on an on going basis. I clean the cans and jars I use as the last part of washing my dishes. Since there is no crusty reminants on them there is no smell and when the bins are getting full they get recycled.

Tin cans can be a problem as there is no recycle bins for cans usually. However scrapyards are happy enough to take them its all steel to them.  If I wanted a bin service I would be paying about €400 a year for it. There are a number of general bins for non recycling waste where you can dump two black bags for about €5. I've not had to use it yet.   


Thanks for sharing your course info with us Artjak.  Will be awaiting you next instalment with interest.  We use our recycling bins, which are collected fortnightly, but I have always been sceptical about what actually gets recycled.  Maybe it depends on the area you live.  We are given a box for glass & tins and another box for plastic & cardboard, but when its collected its all thrown in together??  So I am interested to know how they separate it again.  Its also irritating that we go to the trouble of separating it for it all to be mixed up.  



From the Faq for Durham

Why do I need to separate glass from my other recycling when it is collected by one vehicle?

It’s important that the glass does not splinter and mix with the other items. 

The recycling lorries are ‘split’ vehicles with two separate compartments, one for glass and another for mixed items collected in your recycling bin (paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and food containers, food and drinks cans). So while you may notice all your recycling going into one vehicle, it is going into separate sections.

Should be the same in your area.


I watched one collection day, from my bedroom window and all recycling went in the same section.  Maybe it was a mistake by the collectors on that occassion.   In which I case I can accept human error - it was early in the morning!



Could be, might be an inexperienced bin man. 


Lorraine, I suggest you phone your council and ask them where the re-cycled stuff goes, then keep an eye on the collection to see if what you saw was common practise or not.

blackest; The EU has not allowed any new landfill sites to be started for some time, that is why councils are getting pretty keen on alternatives. I believe the councils are charged about £72 per ton for using landfill.

I understand that recycling schemes vary around the country. Some have kerbside sorting, into different compartments in the collection trucks, while in other areas it's sorted manually off big conveyor belts.

 Oh brave New World!

 England has nothing to show more fair....


It makes me want to weep to see what we have done.


We are having anew recycling system atrting the end of tis month. What none of us gets is that we are to put glass in with all the other stuff.

Look forward to reading th rst of your information.



artjak wrote (see)

It makes me want to weep to see what we have done.


Quite agree with you Artjak - sadly its a massive world wide problem.


I think what's depressing is the fact we're still having this type of debate in 2013-why does it take so long for anything to change? We (and I mean Governments) wait till it's almost too late then suddenly there's a knee jerk reaction to some statement in Brussels or some 'think tank suit' somewhere in Whitehall and there are 'targets to meet'. The proper facilities aren't put in place first so that recycling can be done correctly and efficiently. People want to recycle-it should be made easy for us to do it.

Or would that be too simple and sensible?


Have just had a long talk with a friend who is also a keen gardener and cares about these things and we came to the conclusion that;

plastic bags in supermarkets should cost 50p

Items like cheese should only be wrapped in greaseproof paper, not cling film

meat should be wrapped in something like cellulose(?) or grease proof (I think cellulose - I may have the word wrong - is made from trees)

therefore should be bio-degradable?

In France, I believe they have banned plastic bags or made them v. expensive, also Wales. We wish our government would do the same.


I agree artjak, the solution must be in not using all that packaging not in finding a place to put it.



Nut C thank you for your response. There are a lot of people on this forum; could we not 'lobby' a bit about this? If other countries can ban them or make them uncomfortably expensive, why can't we? Or are the plastic bag manufacturers so powerful that no government can ban the wretched things?


It's hard to move away from any established state, especially one that makes life easier. A lot of people really don't want to/are not able to think beyond their immediate wants. In our nearest supermarket there are rows and rows of products in plastic containers but only the bottles are recycleable.

All those margerine/yogurt/dips/instant meal containers.............etc can't be recycled in Peterborough.

I have said a lot, every time another landfill planning request comes round I get my word in. Those requests come after gravel extraction and, around here at least, have always been granted. Round here there is a lot of gravel.


Nut C, according to what I was told last Thursday, the EU have banned any new landfill sites for many years now. My friend who I was talking to earlier said there was an horrific landfill near Peterborough. I had understood that no new landfills had been permitted for about the last 6/8 or so years


To be fair not all landfill sites are that bad, we live right next to a decomissied landfill in blaydon/gateshead. Apart from the methane plant you would never know what it used to be, it's now part of the blaydon burn wildlife area, where we have red kites etc. 



Here in Ireland we have a plastic bag levy currently 22 cents. It was introduced at 15 cents in 2002

"It had an immediate effect on consumer behaviour with a decrease in plastic bag usage from an estimated 328 bags per capita to 21 bags per capita overnight."

In Northern Ireland the Assembly has just introduced a 5p bag tax this month. 

Ideally you remember to bring your reusable bags with you when you shop, or grab a box. The disposable carriers are rarely necessary just handy.

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