Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Waste Plant Looking to Lose Landfill; We Have to Think Carefully about Our Use of the Earth's Resources to Protect Our Planet for the Future. and a Waste Treatment Plant about to Open on Tyneside Hopes to Help Change Our Attitude to the Things We Throw Away. AMY HUNT Reports on Graphite Resources

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Waste Plant Looking to Lose Landfill; We Have to Think Carefully about Our Use of the Earth's Resources to Protect Our Planet for the Future. and a Waste Treatment Plant about to Open on Tyneside Hopes to Help Change Our Attitude to the Things We Throw Away. AMY HUNT Reports on Graphite Resources

Article excerpt

Byline: AMY HUNT

FOR years, our throwaway society has grown. Items we consider rubbish have expanded our landfill sites and we have tapped into more and more of the earth's natural resources to fuel our desire for disposable goods.

Now, backed by public opinion, the Government is clamping down on the amount of waste which councils can bury underground, and landfill tax is rising.

Materials once thought of as waste are now valuable resources.

On Tyneside, an enterprising company - Graphite Resources - is hoping to make good use of the things we throw away.

Brothers Michael and William Thompson set up the company - based at Derwenthaugh in Gateshead - in 2002, along with fellow director Richard Mair.

The firm is developing a groundbreaking pounds 50m EcoParc, comprising massive autoclaves which will treat ordinary black bag rubbish and turn it into a useful resource.

In the autoclaves' giant tanks, waste will be heated up using steam and sterilised at a temperature of 160C. The idea is that the product from the process can be used for things such as building materials, restoring land or to produce biofuel for vehicles rather than being sent to landfill. But, crucially at the EcoParc, which will be the UK's largest autoclaving plant, items which can be recycled will be plucked from the rubbish and sent for recycling.

Recovering and recycling items such as metal and plastic from waste is more energy-efficient and uses fewer new resources. So, in other words, we can make our planet healthier and make sure its resources last longer by recycling.

But, inevitably, some items which can be recycled get thrown into our general waste bin.

For example, aluminium foil and food tins which have not been cleaned cannot be placed in recycling bins as they risk contaminating other items. …

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