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11 August 2014
Rubbish is a major component of our lives but what happens after its collection is a mystery to most. A party from the Bryncoch Environment Group (BEG) dispelled some of that mystery on their recent visit to the Neath Port Talbot Material Energy and Recovery Centre, one of the country's most efficient waste processing establishments. Kevin Stewart, its Deputy General Manager, gave an enlightening account of this Centre which is tucked behind the old Ford Factory at Jersey Marine. He skilfully wove together an account which combined statistics, economics, politics and environmental considerations. Kevin described a highly sophisticated operation with four teams of eight working 24/7 to deal with the public's relentless output of rubbish. Along the way we learned that old video tapes regularly clog up the machinery and that high quality clothing - some still in its original packaging - turns up among the textile waste. Among the more alarming items disposed of by the public were a live tank shell and ditto grenades, while the corpse of a large boa constrictor also caused a stir. It mightn't be the sweetest smelling place to spend time but the BEG party were impressed by this Centre that deals so efficiently with the rubbish we churn out week by week and recycles large portions of it for future reuse.
Jeff Griffiths

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