On Wednesday 20th April our monthly Sussex Green Ideas Zoom meeting focused on how people can reduce the waste they create and maximise the recycling of the materials they do buy.

Colin McFarlin, a voluntary West Sussex County Council Waste Prevention Advisor, gave an excellent and very informative presentation on waste prevention and recycling in the council household bins and through the Household Waste Recycling Sites (many call them dumps or amenity tips).

Joy Carter, Sussex Green Living’s lead recycling volunteer, explained what can be recycled through our drop off locations in Horsham and many villages in Horsham District and gave lots of tips on waste prevention. This was followed by an explanation of what the supermarkets are now recycling in the form of hard to recycle flexible plastics.

The meeting was attended by many volunteers who help with the TerraCycle recycling in Horsham and currently 17 villages within Horsham District. The following Sussex Green Living public drop off locations were represented by volunteers at the meeting: Amberley, Billingshurst, Henfield, Horsham, Slinfold, Storrington, Steyning, Southwater, Nuthurst / Mannings Heath, Rudgwick, Pulborough and Washington (which we hope to launch in 2022).

The meeting was opened by Carrie Cort the CEO of Sussex Green Living, she gave a brief presentation on the charity’s 3 year plan, which has just been completed by the trustees and the communications team, sharing the ambitious mission the charity.

West Sussex County Council Household Waste and Recycling presented by Colin McFarlin

Presentation starts at 8.19. Key points:

  • Check what you are putting into your recycling bin, to help reduce the ‘wrong’ items going into the recycling bin. Currently 9% contamination rate. Learn more here.
  • Please make sure your recycling is clean, dry and loose.
  • Remove lids before recycling and only put in ones which are bigger than a coffee jar lid. Recycle smaller lids and trigger heads through SGL. Learn more here.
  • Plastic bottles, pots and tubs, including black and brown ones (but not plant pots*) can be recycled in West Sussex household recycling bins.
  • Never put batteries into any kerbside recycling bin or rubbish bin as they can start fires, take them back to any shop that sells batteries, they will have a recycling point. Or Batteries put in a small, clear plastic bag and place ON your council bin on collection day (in Horsham District).
  • Take your ID to the Recycling Centres (the tip) to show you are a West Sussex resident. Find recycling centres and check if need to book here.
  • *NEW – HARD PLASTIC – clean plant pots, drain pipes/guttering, garden furniture, plastic buckets and plastic hangers can now be recycled at Burgess Hill, Crawley, Chichester, Shoreham and Worthing Recycling Centres.
  • Simplest way to reduce your household waste is by reducing the amount you have to dispose of. Reduce – Reuse – Recycle.

Colin explained that the national Council recycling rate is currently 44% and West Sussex County Council is 53%.

Message from Sussex Green Living: although this seems good, this means in West Sussex we are NOT recycling 47% which is transported to Europe to be incinerated.

Incineration depresses recycling, destroys valuable resources, releases greenhouse gases, harms air quality and is a barrier to the circular economy. Learn more here. 

Sussex Green Living/TerraCycle Recycling presented by Joy Carter

Presentation starts at 32.46. Joy showed attendees the different materials which Sussex Green Living can currently (as of April 2022) take and dispatch to TerraCycle for recycling, she stressed TerraCycle brigades (recycling schemes) are constantly changing, as companies sponsor the brigades for an agreed period of time and number of collectors. This page shows the waste resources which can be recycled through SGL.

We have just joined a new TerraCycle brigade the Taylors of Harrogate coffee and can now take all brands of coffee bean pouches, coffee bag sachets and ground coffee pouches. Our village volunteers are encouraged to start collecting, you can download a poster from here found at the bottom of the page.

These brigades have recently come to an end:

  • Ella Kitchen baby pouches and other similar brands – however these can now be taken to main supermarkets and put in the flexible plastic recycling bin.
  • Walkers Crisps have stopped their TerraCycle brigade and although you can take them to the main supermarkets to put in their recycling bin, we are still able to recycle crisp packets through the KP Snack TerraCycle brigade. As we have most confidence in TerraCycle’s recycling in the UK, please still donate crisp and snack packets to us.

Since we started TerraCycle recycling 10 years ago we have diverted 10,000 kilos of waste resources from landfill or incineration and raised more than £8,000 for charity (beneficiaries William Penn School, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance and Sussex Green Living). Milk bottle tops are donated to the Springboard Project for recycling, raising money for them. Although you can recycle them in your council bin we also collect and donate aluminium ring pulls to a Filipino charity called the Purple Community Fund.

Recycling questions please contact Joy through this contact page or our recycling Facebook page here.

DOWNLOAD OUR RECYCLING CRIB SHEET HERE it shows what you can recycle through the council, SGL/TerraCycle and the supermarkets.

Supermarket Recycling presented by Rob Fryatt

Presentation starts at 38.48. Rob outlined the wider range of recycling now taken by the supermarkets, but highlighted that this had meant the closure of some of the TerraCycle campaigns. He added that SGL had an active project to approach head offices of the major supermarkets to understand better the fate of the recycling now under their guardianship, where they had to date been less than transparent.

Position Statement and Appeal from Carrie Cort 

Appeal starts at 43.35. Carrie appealed for councils and volunteers to work together with Sussex Green Living to elevate the message about increasing awareness, ambition and action to move up the waste hierarchy. Sussex Green Living has been running TerraCycle recycling since we launched on 22nd March 2012, for ten years, we now need to put more effort into communicating REFUSE, RETHINK, REFILL AND REPAIR, all actions which are available to us to take in Horsham District and beyond.

We are aware there is a lot of confusion within the general public about the council recycling and now the supermarket recycling, with many people very concerned as to whether the supermarkets are recycling or incinerating the materials they collect. Our TerraCycle recycling bins in Horsham and in the villages where we have drop off locations, are seeing an increase of 50-60% single use plastics which should be going in the supermarket bins. This is causing double the work, our Sussex Green Living bins needing to be emptied twice as often, twice as much hand sorting by our volunteers and then they have to take 50% of the materials to a nearby supermarket!

The hard to recycle plastic landscape is very complex and causing a high level of concern, so Carrie has set up a plastic working group who meet regularly to share knowledge, carry out due diligence research and plan a communication strategy. Attendees include:

  • Sussex Green Living – Carrie, Joy, Rob and recycling volunteers Caroline Holden (Horsham Womble) and Suzanne Lindfield (Pulborough Womble).
  • Circular Economy Professional (WWF No Plastic in Nature campaigner) – Elle Runcton
  • Horsham Eco Churches & No Incinerator 4 Horsham – Karen Park
  • Greenpeace Surrey and UK Without Incineration Network (UKWIN) Neil Pitcairn
  • Circular Dorking– Pat Smith and Paul Street (who have been carrying out a lot of due diligence work in Dorking)
  • West Sussex County Council, Waste Prevention Team – Rachel Carruthers

Caroline and Suzanne have carried out much research as part of our due diligence exercise.

What next with plastics? Carrie is going to write to the most appropriate staff in the head offices for the main supermarkets with questions around their plastic collection and supply chain. We will share our findings along with our recommendations for the supermarkets we recommend and have most confidence in.

Join the Big Plastic Count 16th – 22nd May

Count your plastic for one week and help push the government, brands and supermarkets to take bold action to tackle the plastic crisis.

Across the country, households of all shapes and sizes, schools, community groups and businesses, will gather new evidence. How much plastic are we really having to throw away, and what happens to it?

Sign up and learn more here

Update on food waste collections in West Sussex, this is a summary from the WSCC Decision Report:

Under the new Environment Act 2021 waste collection authorities (WCAs) will be required to collect food waste separately. Under earlier legislation, it falls to the County Council as Waste Disposal Authority (WDA) to arrange for the disposal of the “controlled waste” collected in its area by the waste collection authorities. The Government has yet to confirm the timing of and funding for implementation of the new duty. However, given the timeframes required to amend major contracts and implement new arrangements, the County Council needs to consider options for how to meet the obligation that will fall to it. In doing so, any proposal should reflect the priorities in Our Council Plan 2021-25, particularly the cross-cutting theme of tackling climate change and our priority of making best use of resources.

A detailed business case shows that the Council’s mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facility could be converted to process food waste separately – providing a cost[1]effective solution to this new requirement. The programme of works would take 12 months. The modifications would have an estimated capital cost of just under £7.3m but, with reduced revenue payments under a varied contract, there is a strong business case to justify the proposal to do the work within the remaining term of the contract.

The financial, technical, environmental, legal and risk analysis concludes that modification of the existing facility is the option which enables the Council to meet the new statutory duty and the Council’s strategic aims in the safest and most convenient way. In considering the options to meet the new duties, officers have taken the opportunity to identify further changes that could be made to the current facilities and processes to improve or reduce the cost of the currently relatively expensive method of processing residual household waste in West Sussex and help our climate goals.

View the full report here: Decision – Strategic Options for Processing of Separate Food Waste and Other Waste Disposal Services (CAB19_21/22) (moderngov.co.uk)

Dates and topics for next Sussex Green Ideas meetings:

Wed 18th May – Refills learn how you can reduce the plastics in your home and being recycling by refilling water bottles in the shops, refilling household cleaning and personal hygiene bottle, food refills and more (this is the Greenpeace big plastic count campaign week) presented by Elle Runcton.

15th June – Wasting Food Feeds Climate Change – Let’s work together to save food and our planet. Organised and presented by Karen Park, Horsham Eco Churches.

20th July – Pay to breath and help save the rainforests. Presented by Nicola Peel.

No Sussex Green Ideas in August

21st Sept – Greener heating through air source heat pumps. Presented by Simon Beach from A Greener Alternative.

Book one or multiple months here we will email you joining instructions and Zoom details, as these change each

To view, download, print for your fridge any of the flyers above click here. Please share.