Norfolk plan to burn plastics mistakenly put in recycling bins

Plastic rubbish such as yoghurt pots thrown away in recycling bins across Norfolk is to be sent to Lincolnshire and burnt to produce energy, it has emerged.

Norfolk County Council has unveiled the move which would deal with around 6,500 tonnes of rubbish that it cannot recycle at its own treatment facilities such as crisp packets, yoghurt pots and take away pizza boxes which it said gets mistakenly put in residents' recycling bins.

Currently the rubbish, which is around 10pc of the total recycled, is removed and sent to landfill at a cost of around �100,000.

But now, the waste will be sent to Lincolnshire and turned into a fuel which will be used instead of coal to power a cement works at South Ferraby.

Green councillor Andrew Boswell the proposal was socially irresponsible because it would encourage incineration and there was an environmental cost to transporting it out of the county.

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'This is another form of incineration, despite the very strong public views against it, while also exporting Norfolk's waste elsewhere,' he said. 'What's needed to is better packaging and that will only come through government action.'

But Bill Borrett, cabinet member for environment and waste said: 'When non-recyclables do slip through the net and arrive at the Materials Recovery Facility in Costessey, residents can be reassured that our new solution for dealing with it means that rather than ending up in landfill it will be turned into a useful resource; in this case a fuel for energy, instead.'

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'This new contract is another example of Norfolk County Council's complete commitment to divert as much waste as possible away from landfill - which hurts our environment and our wallets. It also demonstrates that the county council is determined to make its services more efficient and deliver financial savings that are to be welcomed in these tough times.'

Mark Allen, the council's assistant director, for environment and waste, said: 'This type of rubbish shouldn't go in our recycling bins, but if it does, it's good to know that instead of being landfilled, it will be used in an industrial operation that utilises fuel made from leftover waste. It's even better to know that that some of Norfolk's non-recyclable waste is also helping to reduce the UK's reliance on fossil fuels like coal.'

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