What does the Parish of St Just do with its waste?

Posted on: 15th October 2017

What does the Parish of St Just do with its waste? Cornwall Council photograph (below) showing recycling rates across Cornwall got amazing coverage but there is more to this story than the headline figures.

Cornwall Recycling Rates

Cornwall Recycling Rates – Graphic supplied by Cornwall Council

By analysing what we have been throwing out, throughout Cornwall, the Council now has some information that will help inform future decisions. The recycling figures have not been picked up as a good news story because, compared to many areas, our recycling figures are low. However, its not as simple as the headline figures suggest plus we have much more detail for Parishes and Towns, throughout Cornwall.

Recycling and other waste facts for Cornwall By clicking the link and going to your Community Network Area (for St Just and Pendeen its at the bottom, West Cornwall) it is possible to find how much within an area recycling rates vary. It is also possible to see how much total waste is generated per household per year in each area. Fair to say that some areas that have a high recycling rate also have a higher volume of ‘stuff’ generally that they throw out or recycle so their TOTAL waste levels are high. Detailed analysis has not taken place yet but casting my simple eye over them suggest that whilst the poorer areas of Cornwall might not be such strong recyclers they do have less waste overall than what might be considered wealthier parts.

If comparing Cornwall with other Councils that seem better performing, it is worth checking whether they collect food waste separately. Cornwall’s food waste at the moment is within black bag/ residual waste so goes to Cornwall’s Energy Recovery Centre and is burnt to produce electricity. We cannot count that towards our recycling figures. Our analysis of what is in black bags shows us that 35% of that waste is food waste. Scary fact coming up! That means, in Cornwall we throw away 48,000 tonnes of food from our homes each year and it is fair to say that much of that is because we buy things and then throw them away because they go out of date. Some of the food we throw away could be eaten safely but people are less confident at using left overs.

Something to think about! If people shopped more carefully and did use up left overs then they could save themselves about £600 a year, on average. 

A challenge: Over the next week, make a note or put into one bag, all the food you throw out. Then make yourself a promise to reduce that amount and think about what you could do with the money you save! To help you the love food hate waste campaign has lots of useful tips!

Finally, here are some local facts. Per household we throw out an average of 513kg of stuff each year and recycle 21.2% of it at home. That means we throw away very slightly above the average amount across Cornwall and recycle slightly less of it. 10.7% of our local people subscribe and use the green waste collection service which is a bit low.