Clean sweep for recycling

Street sweepings collected by Brighton & Hove’s mechanical street sweepers are now being recycled.

It is the latest initiative to help the city increase its recycling rates. The city council and its waste partner Veolia have implemented a way of separating the waste collected by the sweepers and extracting the materials which can then be recycled or re-used. 

Nearly 40% of waste collected from the gullies and pavements in Brighton & Hove is ‘organics’ such as leaves or other vegetation.  They can be recycled into land restoration material, while sand, soil and aggregates (which account for most of the remaining waste) can be re-used.

Cllr Gill Mitchell, chair of the city’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, said:  “This is another practical way of helping the city to recycle more. Using our new sweepers we can not only clean the streets with more frequency, we can also put what we’ve collected to good use. We estimate that recycling street sweepings will increase our recycling rates by around one per cent.”

In October the council introduced four new multi-functional street sweeping machines. They enable the street cleansing teams to clean streets faster and more often, giving them the ability to concentrate on other areas of the city.

Up to 90% of street sweepings and gully waste can be recycled thanks to this new process of separating the street sweepings from other waste and delivering it to a purpose-designed street sweepings recycling plant.

Allan Key General Manager for Veolia South Downs said: "At Veolia we are always striving to deliver innovative ways to move waste up the hierarchy; this is a great example of this in action as the waste was previously processed for energy recovery."