Northamptonshire woman fined for fly-tipping

Former shop owner fined £1.3k for fly-tipping business waste, including raw meat

A woman from the Northamptonshire town of Wellingborough has been fined over £1,000 after council environmental officers connected her to a pile of fly-tipped business waste which had been dumped on farmland.

The fly-tipped waste had been reported to East Northamptonshire Council by a passerby in August 2015. The council officers attended the scene in Mill Road, Woodford, and discovered a significant amount of rubbish, which contained black refuse bags full of cooked meat and even raw meat.

Fly-tipper fined for dumping raw meat on farmland

The waste was found by a passerby who reported it to the council


The environmental officers also found cardboard and used plastic food bags dumped on the farmland.

The council began an investigation and were able to trace the pile of commercial waste back to former shop owner, Natalia Szweda, who appeared as an individual in Northampton Magistrates Court on 26 April 2016 and pleaded guilty to charges.

Ms Szweda’s business had been dissolved since the waste had been fly-tipped and therefore no prosecution could be brought against the business itself. Ms Szweda was fined £150 for the clear up, £390.67 for council officer costs, £700 for prosecution costs, and a £60 victim surcharge.

In addition to these fines, the defendant was given a six week curfew between 6pm and 6am and ordered to carry out 12-months community service work.

The waste services manager at East Northamptonshire Council, Charlotte Tompkins, said: “We have a zero tolerance policy on any matters of environmental crime and our waste team do all they can to prosecute those who fly-tip in our district.”

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Peterborough council expects food waste recycling growth

The Cambridgeshire council is now providing free food waste bags to encourage resident recycling

Peterborough City Council is expecting a sharp rise in the amount of food waste being sent for recycling by residents after changing the free food caddy bags from biodegradable to plastic.

The county of Cambridgeshire council said its already noticed a 25 per cent increase in the amount of food waste being sent for recycling. The council hopes that overall food waste recycling will now rise by 90 tonnes per month.

Residents living within the Peterborough City Council boundaries are now being supplied with a roll of 40 new 7-litre high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners, which can themselves be easily recycled. The free plastic sacks are designed to encourage residents to recycle their food waste rather than throw it away with their general household waste.

Amy Nebel, the recycling officer from Peterborough City Council, said the free plastic food waste bags are a cost-effective way of increasing the district’s food waste recycling, as the new sacks are much cheaper that the previous biodegradable bags.

The council hopes to save around £60,000 per year, if residents continue to recycle their food waste at the increased rate. Each roll of HDPE bin liners comes with an order tag, so residents can order more for free when they are running low.

The food waste produced in the Peterborough district is sent to a Biogen AD renewable energy plant, where its is processed to create energy for the national grid and to create agricultural fertiliser.

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£100,000 to be spent by Hull City Council on expert recycling advice

Help for residents on what to recycle in which bins

Hull City Council is to spend £100,000 on expert advice on how to correctly use the recycling bins that every home in the UK is provided with. The overall aim of the spend is to help residents understand what items should be placed in which bin and to reduce the amount of wrong items being placed in the blue bins.

The council have said that incorrect items placed in the wrong bin is costing around £50,000 in penalties per month. A penalty is received if over 15% of the recycled rubbish contains incorrect items.

Hull City Council to offer recycling advice to residents

Hull City Council to offer recycling advice to residents


24,000 tonnes of recyclable rubbish is collected from households every year in Hull and around 20% of that total weight shouldn’t be placed in the blue bin.

A statement from the Council reports that about £60,000 of council tax payers’ money is going to waste because of the wrong type of rubbish going into bins, money which could be spent on improving other services.

The council believes that the campaign to raise public awareness on how to use the bins correctly will be money well spent and will, in the long term, help to keep costs down and improve the recycling services in the city.

2,150 blue bins have been removed by the council from residents that are believed to be consistently placing the wrong rubbish in the blue bins.

Blue bins should only be used to recycle cardboard, glass, paper, tins and some plastics.

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Apple experiencing the financial benefits of resource recycling

US tech firm recovered almost $40m worth of gold from old products last year

Apple’s annual Environmental Responsibility Report reveals that the US tech giant raked in millions of extra revenue last year as a result of product recycling at its California base.

During Apple’s latest media event, it announced a big push in the recycling direction, with the launch of its clever disassembling robot, Liam, which can take an iPhone 6 apart in 11 seconds. The US firm recognises the importance of manufacturer responsibility and the benefits of a circular economy business model.

Apple recovered $40m in gold from old products

Apple increased its revenue by recycling old products in 2015


In typical fashion, Apple has began its recycling efforts in style. The firm’s innovative recycling robots have been hard at work throughout the previous year and have recovered millions of dollars worth of valuable materials from Apple products that have been returned under the company’s Renew take-back programme.

The company’s annual Environmental Responsibility Report shows that Apple recovered 2,204 pounds of gold in 2015. According to, in the current market this amount of gold is worth $39,502,000. Apple is recycling millions of iPhones and computers each year; FairPhone claims that each iPhone contains 30mg of gold.

In total, Apple recovered an impressive 61,357,800 pounds of valuable materials in 2015. The clever robots also extracted 2,953,360 pounds of copper; 4,518,200 pounds of aluminium; 39,672 pounds of nickel; and 6612 pounds of silver.

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England’s recycling rate fell in 2015

Defra’s statistics show a 0.7 per cent drop in England’s recycling rate in 2015

Provisional data published by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) suggests that England’s recycling rate fell in 2015 for the first time in over 10 years.

The provisional data was released on March 22 and shows that recycling dropped by 0.7 per cent in 2015. This is the first year that recycling rates have fallen in England since 2000/01. In 2014, municipal waste recycling reached 45 per cent, but the rate for 2015 fell to 44.3 per cent.

Recycling rates dropped in 2015 by 0.7%

Recycling rates dropped in 2015 by 0.7%


The amount of waste produced by households in England increased by 0.6 per cent, but overall waste production in England fell by 0.6 per cent compared to 2014.

According to Defra the decrease in recycling can be attributed to a dramatic decrease in the recycling of ‘other organics recycling’ in 2014 compared to 2015; this recycling stream dropped by 5.7 per cent. Defra claims that this was because of dire weather conditions at the beginning of 2014 resulting in more garden recycling at the end of the year.

The overall 0.7 per cent decrease in recycling is the first dip recorded since 2000/01. In this year, England recycled only 11.4 per cent of the waste it generated; by 2010/11 this had risen to 41.5 per cent.

However, in the last four years, the country’s recycling rate has risen by tiny amounts, resulting in fears that England will not be able to meet EU’s 2020 recycling target, which has been set at 50 per cent.

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Glasgow manufacturer fined for waste packaging offences

A food manufacturer in Glasgow has been fined for flouting business packaging regulations

A food manufacturer based in Glasgow has been prosecuted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for failing in its responsibility to recover and recycle waste packaging.

Walter Black Foods of Drumhead Road, Cambuslang Investment Park, were investigated by SEPA in October 2013 when the agency saw that the food manufacturer had ended its member contract with its Producer Responsibility Obligations compliance scheme.

Under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packing Waste) Regulation 2007, manufacturers of products that require packaging are required to register as a product producer with SEPA. The producer will then be given recycling obligations which it can choose to fulfil independently or it can join a compliance scheme.

All manufacturers and compliance schemes are required to record their packaging recovery and recycling rates and submit it on demand to SEPA. The Producer Responsibility Regulations are designed to reduce waste packaging being sent to landfill.

SEPA sent multiple warning letters to Walter Black Foods, informing the firm of its registration requirements, but the letters went ignored.

The case was sent to the Procurator Fiscal and Walter Black Foods was obliged to appear in court. The firm pleaded guilty to failing to register in accordance with Producer Responsibility Regulations; failing to supply a certificate of compliance; and therefore failing to recover and recycle its packaging.

The food company was handed a £8,600 fine and was required to pay £28,538 as part of a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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UK government says no to coffee cup tax

Paper coffee cups are not to be taxed in near future

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed that the UK government will not be imposing a coffee cup tax on throwaway paper cups handed out by coffee shops such as Starbucks and Costa.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defra, Rory Stewart, hinted at the possibility of the government introducing a tax on the throwaway coffee cups while speaking in the House of Commons. Mr Stewart said the tax would be a positive step considering how successful the 5p carrier bag charge has been across Britain.

UK government will not text coffee cups

Paper coffee cups used by coffee shops such as Costa will not be taxed


According to recent figures, the people of UK use seven million paper cups per day; this equates to 2.5bn paper cups every year and only one in 400 of these are recycled. Big name coffee chains, including Costa, Starbucks, Pret, and Caffè Nero have been heavily criticised recently for deceiving customers about the cups that they use.

These nationwide coffee chains claim that their paper cups are environmentally friendly and recyclable. The protective sleeves which Café Nero and Pret put around their cups claim to be 100% recyclable or recycled, but campaigners say that this is misleading as customers could think it applies to the whole cup.

In the House of Commons Mr Stewart said: “Having tackled plastic bags, which I hope everybody in the house would agree the plastic bag tax has been a success, coffee cups seem to be a very good thing to look at next.”

However, just hours later a spokesperson for Defra said that there were no plans to introduce a coffee cup tax but admitted that “more needs to be done to recycle coffee cups”.

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North Yorkshire County Council could scrap recycling scheme

Charities could suffer as the council considers scrapping the recycling scheme

North Yorkshire County Council has announced proposals to end its recycling reward scheme which could negatively impact organisations, including charities, which collect and sell on unwanted waste items.

The council is considering cutting the scheme as senior councillors argue that it is “not key” to reaching recycling targets and the monetary awards handed out by the council can no longer be justified, as budgetary consequences must be considered.

The council’s recycling scheme allows charities and organisations to collect waste goods, including paper, textiles, toys, etc, and sell them on to raise charitable funds. North Yorkshire County Council rewards the organisations with cash bonuses as they are helping the council reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

According to figures released by North Yorkshire County Council, it has handed out more than £111,000 per year in recent years to charities and organisations as part of the recycling scheme, however, financial considerations “suggests that the scheme can no longer be protected”.

Senior councillors have produced a report which details the reasons for the proposal and why they support the closing of the scheme. The councillors who approve of the proposal have argued that charities and other organisations will continue to collect the saleable waste regardless of council rewards and therefore recycling rates will not be affected.

However, two charities from the area, Essential Needs in Harrogate and Whitby Area Development Trust, have already claimed that the end of the scheme would mean the end of their charitable efforts as they could not survive.

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Plastic eating bacteria could solve recycling problem

Japanese scientists discover new PET eating bacteria

According to scientists, a new bacteria has emerged which has the ability to eat the troublesome PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastics that are plaguing the globe.

PET plastics present a particular problem to the world, as they are difficult to recycle. Figures shows that 56 million tonnes of PET plastic was produced in 2013 but only 2.2million of that was recycled, while the rest made its way to overcrowded landfill sites or the world’s oceans.

New PET eating bacteria discovered by scientists

New bacteria can eat away PET plastic


A team of Japanese scientists at Kyoto Institute of Technology have discovered a new bacteria which they say eats away at PET plastic using two enzymes. The researchers believe that the PET eating bacteria, which they named Ideonella sakaiensi, must have evolved over time as the man-made PET plastic was only invented in 1941.

According to the scientists, Ideonella sakaiensi uses two enzymes to break down the PET until it becomes two harmless substances, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, which the bacteria then feeds on.

Koehi Oda, one of the researchers who discovered the bacteria, said: “We have to improve the bacterium to make it more powerful, and genetic engineering might be applicable here.”

The original report, published in the journal Science, says that at present the newly discovered bacteria can eat away a finger-nail sized section of PET within six weeks. At that rate, Ideonella sakaiensi would not make much of a headway with the thousands of tonnes of plastic waste produced globally each year.

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Levi Strauss launches UK clothing recycling scheme

Customers can exchange unwanted clothing for a 10% off voucher

The US jeans manufacturer Levi Strauss & Co has launched its clothing recycling scheme in the UK and hopes to implement it throughout the rest of Europe by the end of 2017.

The denim brand launched its clothing recycling scheme in the US in early 2015 and its success has inspired the company to expands its initiative across the Atlantic.

Levi Strauss customers can take unwanted clothing and shoes to any of the chain’s nationwide shops and in return, they will receive a 10% off voucher to spend in store. Levi Strauss hopes that the initiative will inspire the people of Great Britain to recycle more clothing instead of shipping them off to landfill.

Levi Strauss launches new in store recycling scheme

Levi Strauss launches clothing recycling initiative


The vice president of sustainability at Levi Strauss, Michael Kobori, said that the firm is focusing upon “sustainability across all facets” of its business but also wants to encourage a “shift in consumer behaviour” which would see clothing and shoe recycling becoming “the norm”.

According to Levi Strauss, 350,000 tonnes of discarded clothing and footwear ends up in landfill every year. The US firm is not the only organisation who recognises that this is not sustainable.

Mr Kobori said: “As an industry leader, we consider all phases of our product lifecycle, including stages beyond our direct control like the product’s end point.”

The launch of the clothing recycling initiative in the UK and Europe will result in a closer partnership between Levi Strauss and I:Collect; a worldwide company which offers solutions for the reuse and recycling of unwanted textiles, clothing, footwear.

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