Cyngor Gwynedd wasting tonnes of CO2…

…by sending drinks cans litter to landfill

Dilwyn Williams (Cyngor Gwynedd Chief Executive) is rightly proud of the 500 tonnes of CO2 saved as the result of new waste management measures. Likewise, this year’s increase in drinks can recycling via the blue boxes (from 100 to 136 tonnes), saving an additional 300 tonnes of CO2, is commendable.

So why is Cyngor Gwynedd sending tens of tonnes of aluminium to landfill annually, wasting many more tonnes of CO2?

While householders are being urged to separate and recycle their waste, all litter picked up by Council street cleaners is sent to landfill. This includes millions of aluminium drinks cans.

Production of aluminium is very energy intense


Recycling 1 aluminium drinks can saves enough energy to boil water for 14 cups of tea.

Over 95% of drinks cans are aluminium. Producing aluminium from raw bauxite requires huge amounts of energy, and each tonne of drinks cans sent to landfill represents nearly 9 tonnes of CO2 that could have been salvaged. Yes, recycling 1 tonne of aluminium saves 9 tonnes of CO2!

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough is currently saving 100 tonnes of CO2 annually by separating and recycling drinks cans picked up as litter, and Cyngor Conwy takes collected litter to Mochdre for sorting and recycling. When will Cyngor Gwynedd do the same?

180 tonnes of COcould be saved annually

Cyngor Gwynedd has been unable to provide figures for the tonnage of litter that is picked up by their 55 Street Cleaners, but my experience of salvaging drinks cans from verges and footpaths in Gwynedd as part of my sponsored CanSaveCarbon challenge, suggests as much as half of all the litter, by weight, could be drinks cans.

A cautious estimate is that Gwynedd Council is sending 20 tonnes of aluminium cans to landfill every year, as litter. This represents 180 tonnes of CO2(Info)

A simple measure at negligible cost

Gwynedd could significantly increase its carbon savings by Council Street Cleaners separating out and recycling drinks cans. A simple split-hoop bin-bag holder (so 2 bags can be clipped into the holder) would allow street cleaners to separate cans from other rubbish as they pick them up, at negligible cost and minimal extra labour.

Can we look forward to the introduction of such a measure soon?

Please sponsor me

And don’t forget to donate or  sponsor me on my CanSaveCarbon challenge to pick up and recycle 3,600 discarded drinks cans, thus saving half a tonne of CO2! All proceeds to the Snowdonia Society.

Picking it up with pride!
CanSaveCarbon blog


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