WELSH Liberal Democrat County Councillor Jackie Charlton has been fascinated by waste and recycling for years.

After working on campaigning and supporting recycling in her ward of Llangattock, Jackie requested a visit to the very successful recycling centre run by Powys County Council in Brecon and was delighted when they agreed to the visit.

The centre brings in all the kerbside recycling from all over Powys that includes bottles (glass/plastic), cans, paper and card from across the county and also manages local south Powys litter bin bags and green waste too.

Ian Harris Waste and Recycling Operations Manager explained the process and how lucrative waste is when sorted for selling leaving less for land fill.

Aluminium waste is one of the most valuable and Powys has high class aluminium going out to buyers which can bring in as much as £950 per tonne at current prices.

It has to be cleaned and free from contamination to get this price but Brecon has all the right equipment, a long term investment for the County, to achieve this right down to making sure any fruit fly larvae are eliminated from the cans too by the spraying of the bales before leaving the facility.

So, that sorting and sifting at home makes all the difference as Powys can make waste pay, costing you less as the taxpayer for waste and recycling.

Alongside Jackie on the visit was Michael Butterfield for Llangattock Litter Pickers.

He works closely with the likes of the Welsh Government and other partners on the policy development for implementing the Deposit Return Scheme in Wales.

Michael was keen to see how this local process worked and share with Ian more ideas on the shift away from using the terminology of litter and move to a lost resource culture.

Llangattock Litter Pickers are able to demonstrate the huge level of roadside drink and alcohol related litter found from over 140 miles of roadside verges each and every month keeping weekly records of the litter taken locally.

It is one of only a few litter groups that actually sorts, separates and records the composite of the litter it has gathered and sends for recycling.

Michael used the visit to highlight how he can work more closely with the council to find a way of enabling volunteers to litter pick on major trunk routes in Powys, working with Ian, Jackie and others in Powys County Council.

Jackie said “Llangattock Litter Pickers can provide the volunteers, Powys could ensure this can be done safely.” This will improve the environment and increase the level of waste that can be recycled and demonstrate community partnership with Powys.

Michael is also keen to see Powys County Council move away from sending all of its litter that is collected from its street litter bins being sent to landfill. Within the litter bags collected from the litter bins is a wealth of lost resources including drink related litter that could be recovered and not scandalously be sent to landfill.

Michael is all too aware that a Deposit Return Scheme is a game changer on a number of fronts for local authorities such as Powys County Council and will be the catalyst in moving away from the “contaminated bag” culture that exists seeing all bags sent to landfill.

Later this year the Welsh Government in partnership with DEFRA will be going out to consultation on implementing a Deposit Return Scheme with Scotland out currently on consultation for such a scheme. A set of principles was agreed by all four nations back in early July at a meeting in London and a desire for a UK wide Deposit Return Scheme to get to grips with the issue of drink related litter and increase the recycling of such containers.

* Contact Michael Butterfield regarding Deposit Return Scheme

* Llangattock Litter Pickers are a voluntary organisation which has operated since 2009

* Cllr Jackie Charlton is a regular volunteer for Llangattock Litter Pickers and has been so since 2009