Two thirds of the rubbish collected South Tyneside gets burned in incinerator - campaigners call for more recycling after waste figures released

A Waste Management Facility. Picture by PA Wire/PA Images
A Waste Management Facility. Picture by PA Wire/PA Images

More than two-thirds of South Tyneside’s rubbish is burned - one of the highest rates of incineration in England.

Campaigners have called for a tax on incineration due to the amount of pollution it causes.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, 51,832 tonnes of rubbish was burned by South Tyneside Council, according to the latest Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures.

That represents 67% of the local authority’s waste - with the majority of it used as fuel to generate heat and electricity at specialist energy from waste power facilities.

Around 42% of the country’s waste is currently incinerated, compared to 30% three years earlier.

The second most common way of disposing rubbish in South Tyneside was recycling.

In 2017-18, 24,574 tonnes of waste, 32% of the total, was recycled or composted but the recycling rate in South Tyneside has fallen from 41% in 2014-15.

Waste dumped in landfills accounted for 1% of the total.

The Government wants half of all household waste to be recycled by 2020 nationally, and landfill to be reduced to 10% by 2035.

Shlomo Dowen, of United Kingdom Without Incineration Network, believes most of the waste that is incinerated could be recycled.

He said: “We need to stop burning recyclable material, and this means we need to stop building new incinerators.”

A South Tyneside Council spokewoman said: “We are always looking at ways of boosting our recycling rates and, over recent years have increased the amount of materials and items that can be recycled to help resident recycle more.

“However we have to deal with the waste that is left behind. The vast majority of the unrecyclable waste is sent to an Energy-from-Waste treatment facility in Teesside, which not only converts the household waste into electricity the National Grid, but dramatically reduces the amount of waste that historically was landfilled.

“The electricity produced is enough to power more than 30,000 homes in the area.”

She added: “We would encourage residents to do their bit for the environment and continue supporting us to ensure as much as possible is recycled. They can do this by making sure the correct materials are put in their recycling bin.”

“We also continue to work with neighbouring councils as part of the South of Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership on the management and treatment of waste.”

For further information about waste and recycling in South Tyneside visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling