Out of the 116kg of litter removed from the Back Beach on Isle Martin on the 5th of June, 106.5kg went to Caithness to be buried as landfill and 9.5 kg have entered the recycling system graded into the following categories:
Milk bottles will be recycled into more bottles Washing liquid bottles, will be going for power incineration for electricity
Aluminium cans will be remade into new cans
Tin cans will be added into general steel reprocessing
I am seeking permission to document all the above processes, from the multiple companies dealing with the materials and my results will be posted.
Of the 25 strand-lines that I have recorded in Ross-shire and Sutherland over the last 12 months the highest percentage of litter is made up of commercial fishing related materials such as ropes, and cord. Given that it is going to take years before the volume of litter we find on the beaches is reduced, I am asking the obvious question :
Can more of this litter be recycled or at the very least be used for fuel in electricity plants?
I have thrown this question out to the waste industry specialists that I have met, but I am welcome any information and ideas that readers have regarding the processing of the mixed plastic waste that makes up so much of our litter and our refuse bins. Two particular items that we find masses of on the beach are plastic caps and polystyrene surely they can be recycled
Having now seen the variety of plastics that gets sorted and categorised for processing at one transfer station which includes a vast array of plastic bags from the thin supermarket carrier bags to pet food sacks and bubble wrap I wonder why we are often not encouraged to include these in the recycling bins.
Querying the value of plastic bags at Munros Transfer station Billy Munro explained to me the value of the various different grades of plastics by stretching the plastic between his fingers if it stretches well and is un coloured, thankfully like the bag I brought my litter evidence in from Isle Martin, then it is of high value and will be worth recycling . If on the other hand bags are coloured and have little stretch they will go for incineration. Let’s hope we see fewer bags and when we do that they are un-coloured.