What happens to all the waste collected for recycling by TerraCycle here in the UK?
The central receiving depot for all the UK's TerraCycle collections is right here in Lancashire, at Suez Recycling and Recovery in Darwen, which is great news for me as I had the chance to visit and find out more!
The TerraCycle receiving centre in Darwen is rapidly growing, from handling approximately 30 boxes per day in the early days, to now receiving 600 boxes daily from all around the UK.
The operation is efficiently run by a team who receive and sort through all the boxes, ensuring all waste is sorted on the day it arrives in to the facility. TerraCycle are responsible for recycling much more waste than the six streams we collect for here at OceanClear Recycle Point in Clitheroe. The scale of their operation is huge and going from strength to strength, as more people are keen to reduce plastic pollution and the amount of waste going to landfill.
Each of the TerraCycle schemes are sponsored by a company, for example the crisp packet recycling scheme is sponsored by Walkers Crisps. The funding from the sponsor facilitates the processing and handling of that specific waste stream, which means a controlled number of public drop-off locations can be opened around the UK by volunteers, to receive the waste and ship it off to TerraCycle for recycling. The waste is processed and supplied to manufacturers to produce new things such as benches, playground equipment, playground surfacing, satchels, watering cans... all sorts!
Once the waste has been separated at the Suez facility in Darwen it's then baled. To give you an idea of the scale, a double bale will hold almost 1 million crisp packets! The bales then go into a holding area awaiting collection.
Suez are experts in water and waste recycling, and operate in five continents. Here in Darwen once the TerraCycle waste is baled, that's the end of their involvement, but it is often sent to Suez plants in other countries where facilities exist to process the plastic and make it into pellets or bricks which can then be supplied to manufacturers to make new things.
To find out which of the TerraCycle schemes we currently collect for here at OceanClear Clitheroe, please click here.
If you would like to find a TerraCycle public drop-off location near you, or find out more about how to recycle with them please visit the TerraCycle UK website.
You can find out a little more about the Walkers Crisp Packet Recycling Scheme here.