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Last Updated: Thursday January 08 2009 15:45 GMT

Ricky looks into recycling problems

Ricky finds out about recycling

Lots of us recycle some of our rubbish, sorting paper, plastic and cans into special bins to be turned into something else.

But recent money problems around the world mean that not all of that rubbish is being re-used.

Ricky went to investigate.


"When I was a lot younger, I remember learning about recycling and why it's so important. Ever since then I've recycled as much as I can. At home I've got three recycling bins that get collected every week.

I'm sure loads of you recycle too, but it seems that some parts of the UK are overflowing with spare wastepaper, plastic and aluminium cans. Now some warehouses are having to store lots of rubbish for the very first time instead of recycling it.

I went to visit one them called Greencycle in Durham in north east England.

Recycled paper inside a warehouse
Inside there is a mountain of paper, card, glass and plastic bottles weighing almost 3,000 tonnes. Before the current global money problems, the site would normally contain just 500 tonnes of waste at any one time.

All the paper ends up at the warehouse once it's been collected from the streets.

Then, the recycled material is sold off to other companies who turn the paper into new products like envelopes and notepads. Sometimes the recycled material is sent to countries like China.

At the moment fewer companies are buying the recycled materials because they don't have as much money as they used to.

Last year a tonne of paper and card was worth around 70, now it's not even worth 20. The price of old cans has fallen too, from 200 a tonne to just 20.

Christmas rubbish

But that's not the only reason why the warehouse in Durham is full. Staff there told me that January is a really busy time of year for them.

After Christmas lots of people get rid of their toy packaging and wrapping paper, and that's made the problem worse.

Experts reckon the situation will get better and they hope to clear the backlog of paper in the next few weeks. Even though the warehouse I visited in Durham had stuff waiting to be recycled, bosses say it's really important that you don't stop doing it."

Ricky