Suffolk stops accepting cartons and metal pans in its recycling bins

The recycling centre at Blakenham is being upgraded. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The recycling centre at Blakenham is being upgraded. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Councils across Suffolk are reducing the amount of goods they are collecting for recycling in a bid to cut costs at the county’s sorting plants.

Households are no longer able to put TetraPak-style cartons in recycling bins or metal items like pots or pans.

The decision was made by the Suffolk Waste Partnership - an umbrella group of local authorities that collect and dispose of waste, sending recyclable material to the county's Material Recycling Facility (MRF) at Great Blakenham near Ipswich.

The MRF is currently being refurbished with new sorting equipment being installed - recyclable waste from Suffolk is being sent to other centres around the country.

However when it reopens, there will be no way to separate cartons from other material - and TetraPak-style cartons need specialist recycling equipment because they are made of a mixture of materials.

They can be taken household recycling centres in Suffolk - but it is expected many will find their way into grey bins for non-recylable waste which is burned in the county's incinerator.

A spokesman for the county said cartons were less than 1% of the total recyclable material collected across the county each year.

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Metal pots and pans can cause blockages at the MRF - and again they can be taken to household waste sites.

These restrictions on what can be recycled come in just a few weeks after there was reduction in what can go in composting bins.

Households can no longer put kitchen waste like potato peels or apple peels in brown bins because councils are not prepared to pay for special treatment to make this compost safe.

These recycling restrictions are coming in despite Suffolk County Council continuing to claim it is aiming to be the Greenest County in the UK.

Suffolk County Council cabinet member for waste, Paul West, said: "These changes are coming in because the MRF is being upgraded so it can sort more different types of plastic and recycle much more - but cartons like this are particularly difficult to use again."

Mr West said the Blakenham MRF was out of action until the autumn - in the meantime waste was being sent to recycling plants in Kent.

Liberal Democrat Dave Wood - spokesman for the LibDem, Green, and Independent group - said: "I don't think this is a very good move - and it certainly doesn't fit in well with the Greenest County ambition.

"We have actually seen a reduction in the amount being recycled recently and this isn't going to help. We wonder whether this is because they are trying to push more to the incinerator."

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