You might think that it’s only rubbish and the odd bit of furniture that gets dropped off at a waste recycling centre, but you’d be wrong…
It’s very hard to predict what will be coming through the gates next, as Ilkeston site manager Duane Harrison explains.
“One of the strangest things we had was someone handing in munitions and guns, which we obviously handed into the police.”
Thankfully, most of the time things are a bit simpler to sort out for staff – with green waste, wood and general household items among the commonest items.
“What we see coming in depends on what time of year it is,” says Duane.
“During summer when everyone is out in their garden we get loads of garden waste.”
One of the things you notice when you visit the Manners Avenue Industrial Estate site is how the staff will always try to help.
“I think one of the important things we do is to offer to help people carrying and disposing of their waste,” says Duane.
“This can sometimes help things being simply thrown away for landfill as many things can go to be recycled or re-used.”
The Derbyshire County Council site has an astonishing 110,000 visitors a year.
But after years of the recycling message, does Duane think there has been a noticeable change in people’s attitudes to recycling?
“Yes, definitely,” he says. “I think people recycle a lot more now.”
On average 6,700 tonnes of waste passed through Ilkeston last year – 65 per cent of which was recycled.
Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for recycling and technology, John Allsop, said: “Household waste recycling centres are a vital asset in our aim to divert as much waste from landfill as possible. Using them is one of the most important ways that people can help us achieve our target of recycling 55 per cent of rubbish by 2020.”
Jonathan Morley, of Wood Avenue, Sandiacre, uses the site to drop off hedge cuttings from his garden.
He said: “I think recycling is important because we can’t simply put everything in landfill.”