Council investigation into recycling mix-up

The council has carried out an investigation after some waste collected from the beach during Pride was not recycled.

A mix-up by some Cityclean staff, the council’s waste and recycling service, at the Hollingdean depot led to a number of bags containing tin cans being taken to the energy recovery facility in Newhaven rather than being recycled.

The cans had been collected on the beach by various volunteer groups throughout the weekend. 

It was initially thought all the recycling from the beach - including glass, paper and recyclable plastics - had been taken to the energy recovery facility, but the investigation shows it was tin cans only.

‘It should never have happened’

Rachel Chasseaud, assistant director for City Environment, said: “We launched an immediate investigation into what went wrong. We can only hold our hands up and say this was a human error which should never have happened.

“We apologise to every person who volunteered their valuable time to collect the cans from the beach. These hard-working people did the right thing, unfortunately we didn’t.”

67 tonnes of waste disposed of correctly

Cityclean collected a total of 67 tonnes of waste – both recycling and rubbish – over the Pride Weekend that was all disposed of correctly.

Normally any materials to be recycled are taken to the Veolia recycling facility at Hollingdean, next door to the Cityclean depot, where they are sorted into different loads for plastics; glass; paper and cardboard; cans, tins, metal jar lids and aerosols.

The vast majority or non-recyclable waste is taken to the energy recovery facility and incinerated to create energy which powers 25,000 Sussex homes. 

A very small amount, which cannot be recycled or incinerated like mattresses, is taken to landfill.

‘This must not happen again’

Rachel added: “Our investigation found that tin cans collected on the beach by volunteers ended up at the energy recovery facility.

“There is no excuse for something like this happening, but it has taught us a very valuable lesson to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”