Norfolk Waste Partnership to explore local recycling options

Steve Jenkins, contracts manager, with the baled quality standard paper for China at the NEWS recycl

Steve Jenkins, contracts manager, with the baled quality standard paper for China at the NEWS recycling plant at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A partnership which aims improve waste services in Norfolk is to begin looking at whether more rubbish can be recycled locally.

The Quality Check Cabin with line operators sorting out contaminants from the paper at the NEWS recy

The Quality Check Cabin with line operators sorting out contaminants from the paper at the NEWS recycling plant at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Norfolk Waste Partnership (NWP) said there is an 'employment and skills opportunity' for Norfolk to invest in its own reprocessing capacity.

And the group's board, which is made up of the county's seven councils, has now asked officers to focus on idea.

It comes as China imposed a ban on the import of plastic waste and certain grades of mixed paper at the start of this year.

At present, thousands of tonnes of mixed, dry recyclable waste from Norfolk is sent to reprocessing facilities across the UK and overseas.

The NEWS recycling plant at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The NEWS recycling plant at Costessey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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It includes 38,000 tonnes of waste paper which is shipped 13,000 miles away to China each year.

A spokesperson for the waste partnership said China's import ban will not effect Norfolk due to the county producing a higher-quality grade of waste paper.

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Meanwhile, much of the county's recyclable plastic is sent to facilities in the UK and Europe.

The spokesperson said: 'Clearly the UK needs investment in its own indigenous reprocessing capacity and this a topic the NWP board in December, asked officers to focus on.

'In setting up its new workstream to look at increasing reprocessing capacity, the NWP board has recognised that there is an employment and skills opportunity for Norfolk and the UK to invest in its own reprocessing capacity.'

MORE: Revealed: Why Norfolk's recycling is shipped 13,000 miles away to China rather than King's Lynn

Norfolk's dry, mixed recycling is handled by Norse Environmental Waste Services (NEWS) at its Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Costessey.

The NWP said one of the options in the future could be to find a local company which could utilise the material leaving the facility.

Giving an example, the partnership spokesperson said there are companies which use recycled plastic to create paving slabs.

Later this month the NWP will be meeting with the Palm Paper mill in King's Lynn to discuss future options for collaboration.

It comes after this newspaper reported how paper waste is shipped out to the Far East despite similar facilities existing in Norfolk.

The story led to Green Party councillors questioning how environmentally-friendly Norfolk's recycling scheme really is.

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