Leader of Milton Keynes Council, Peter Marland, talked to MKFM today on recent reports of recycling being found abroad.
Following our recent story on recycling in Milton Keynes, Peter Marland spoke to MKFM.
Peter Marland explained the rubbish collection system in MK, "It's collected in a clear sack, its taken to the materials recycling facility in Wolverton. The sacks are ripped open, all the stuff is sorted, all that stuff is taken to places in the UK. The black sacks are taken to the facility next door, they're ripped open, all the recycling is taken out. What is left over is burned to create energy in Wolverton. All of that material goes to places in the UK. Some of the bags are shredded down and a small amount of that was sent to Taiwan to turn into bottles. It's sent as a raw material sent to a factory to turn into something."
There had been reports of Milton Keynes rubbish turning up in Malaysia but Marland assured MKFM that this wasn't the case, "We've been given assurances where our material goes and we've checked all the supply lines."
Peter Marland insists the council are doing what they can to ensure this is the case, "There are always going to be supply chains that sell materials abroad. As long as we know and can make sure that we're selling it to somebody credible, some of it may end up abroad in a processed form so those factories can turn it into something else. I think the concern is that it was dumped in landfill and I can assure people that doesn't happen to Milton Keynes waste."
He continued ''I can't comment on what happened before I came leader, it is quite possible that 10 years ago unprocessed rubbish did go aboard.''
When asked about the contractor stating that some material material was sent to Asian countries and Turkey, Marland repeated that processed materials will go aboard to be made into something. No unprocessed rubbish (clear sacks) from Milton Keynes Council will end up in a jungle or anywhere else.
According to a MKFM poll, 54% of people are recycling less now than they were a year ago. Marland argues that official figures show something different, "Our figures show over the last year recycling is actually up in Milton Keynes and I think that's a good thing."
Many of the comments on the MKFM poll suggested that people were recycling less due to the difficulty in getting recycling sacks through the new system.
Marland explained why the council chose to make the changes, "We want more recycling. There is no limit on sacks, there's an online ordering system. We send out about 20 million sacks a year. A couple of years ago only a third of those were going into recycle centres. It's not good enough to say it's OK to throw money down the drain, particularly in an age of austerity."
There is a full council meeting taking place tonight (4/6) where the Tories intend to call for a public inquiry into the recycling. Although Marland suggest this is just a political play.