In Wenvoe our weekly collections for household waste and recyclable items are on Friday. This is the day we have to scurry out of bed early to put our bins and bags outside – as they have to be there before 7.00am, but you are not meant to put them out overnight as the paper and cardboard may become soggy and the birds and animals might scatter the contents about. For anyone unsure about when to put out their recycling the dates are helpfully given on page 3 of Wenvoe What’s On.

The recycling of items that can be recovered is very important and we should all make a positive effort to separate those many things which can be recycled such as Paper – Glass – Cans – Cardboard – Plastic – Clean foil – Empty Aerosols – and Cartons. These items should be put into the special green bins or blue bags which are readily available from the Alps Depot in Wenvoe at cost of £1 each. These items most definitely should not be put into black bags, Tesco bags and preferably not into any other plastic bag.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is required by law to increase the amount of household waste that is recycled and this target is becoming higher each year. This year the target is 58% but it rises in 2019 to 64% and in ten years’ time it has to reach 70% which will be challenging. Councils who miss targets receive punitive financial penalties. So we all need to make a greater effort to recycle the items above – and to avoid the lazy option of putting recyclable items into a black bag.

Some may ask why we have to separate our rubbish, and there are a number of good reasons why we should. When we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources. If used materials are not recycled, new products are made by extracting fresh, raw material from the Earth, through mining and forestry. Recycling also helps conserve important raw materials and protects natural habitats for the future.

Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses considerably less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials – even when comparing all associated costs, like transport. Plus there are extra energy savings because more energy is required to extract, refine, transport and process raw materials ready for industry compared with providing industry-ready materials. Recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials all of which create substantial air and water pollution. As recycling saves energy it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which helps to tackle climate change.

Current UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year – the equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road. When we recycle, recyclable materials are reprocessed into new products, and as a result the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites reduces. There are over 1,500 landfill sites in the UK, and in 2001, these sites produced a quarter of the UK's emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Reducing kitchen waste is also very important. There are some obvious ways to achieve this such as buying less food, making good use of leftovers, and turning unused vegetables and salads which may have passed their “use by” date into good tasty soups.

Making a good effort in recycling shows good integrity, good community spirit and an awareness of the environment. If you do not have enough green bins or blue bags the council staff at the Alps depot will be pleased to sell you some. Let us in Wenvoe set a good example of environmental awareness.