Cans are sorted, baled and crushed into large blocks, and often shredded for reprocessing. Melting removes all inks and coatings before metal is transformed into blocks (ingots), which can be huge, 2 x 8 metres and 60cm thick, and their weight can be as much as 20 tonnes. Each one contains about 1.6 million drinks cans. Ingots are delivered to mills where they are rolled into sheets from 0.006mm to 250mm gauge. This rolling strengthens the pure aluminium which then travels to can makers all across Europe – and within just six weeks those new shiny cans have returned to the shelves.
Green waste is vegetable matter, plant material, cuttings etc. from outside. Green waste is not normally treated in the same way as anything that has been indoors in a kitchen environment, and which may have been close to meat or fish, especially uncooked. When green waste is dumped in a landfill, there are possible problems with leachate (seeping liquid which contaminates the soil) and methane, a gas which is flammable and adds to the greenhouse effect.
Composting is the best method of recycling organic matter. Unlike the toxic mix of landfill, good composting conditions enable aerobic breakdown into nutrients and soil-conditioners, an important resource – and free for gardeners. In some regions civic amenity sites compost green waste and provide it for sale to local people. It may also be used to enrich soil on farms.
Construct a compost bin from wooden pallets and wire mesh netting lined with used carpet or thick cardboard. Cover this with a carpet or palette to keep the rain out and the heat in.