A FORMER council chairman has thrown her weight behind a recycling campaign.

Nina Shields has joined the Sustainable Ledbury group, which is trying to promote recycling in the town and wider county.

Ms Shields, who also formerly sat on the town council, said: “Recently, eighteen of us visited EnviroSort and learned a lot more about what happens to our waste once it’s collected from the curbside.

“Every council has different arrangements for recycling - what a nightmare! This is scheduled to change with the new national strategy on waste.The aim is to standardise recycling across the country and then tackle packaging. At the moment packaging manufacturers can rightly say they don’t know what standards to work to with the variations across the country.”

Ms Shields urged everyone to try and reduce waste.

She said: “It’s EnviroSort who handle waste for Herefordshire and Worcestershire; and 90 per cent of our waste used to go to landfill. That’s now down to 10 per cent.

“Whilst this is good news, the amount of waste to be processed is still huge. We still need to reduce waste. The message is clearly ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Dispose’.

“Disposal is done by burning waste to produce energy for the national grid.”

She added: “Envirosort take delivery of our waste from green bins.

"Their job is to sort it and arrange for it to be sent on to other companies, and 12 per cent of the waste arriving at their site is contaminated and has to be sent on for ‘clean’ incineration.

"The ash from this is screened and analysed for safety and is used for aggregate in building blocks.

"The emissions in the atmosphere are cleaner than your average city air quality. The incineration unit is closed for two weeks per year for maintenance during which time the waste goes to landfill. This explains the 10 per cent still going to landfill.”

The methane produced by the landfill “is converted into electricity for the National Grid.

The main contaminants include food, clothes, electrical goods, dirty nappies and carrier bags.

Sustainable Ledbury, which has a Facebook page, describes itself as a group of “local people coming together to help Ledbury reduce waste and improve sustainability”.