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Fatberg-busting oil recycling banks removed over hazard fears

PUBLISHED: 15:51 07 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:28 10 September 2018

People could recycle cooking oils at the recycyling banks across Norfolk that are now to be removed. Photo: Steve Adams

People could recycle cooking oils at the recycyling banks across Norfolk that are now to be removed. Photo: Steve Adams

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Recycling banks designed to stop cooking oil and other fats going unnecessarily down the drain causing fatbergs are to be removed due to people dumping hazardous items.

Contractor Living Fuels said cooking oil recycyling banks are to be removed in Norfolk. Photo: Steve AdamsContractor Living Fuels said cooking oil recycyling banks are to be removed in Norfolk. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich City Council and South Norfolk Council had teamed up with Anglian Water and contractors Living Fuels to bring in the bright orange banks to six locations in Norwich and five across South Norfolk.

All 11 are now set to be taken away at the end of September after people used them to dispose of items including broken glass and gas canisters making them potentially unsafe.

A spokeswoman from South Norfolk Council said: “Rather unexpectedly and regrettably our cooking oil recycling contractor, Living Fuels, have advised us that they are unable to continue to provide a collection service for us.

“Their main concern has been apparent issues with ‘foreign’ waste being placed in the bins by the public causing handling and transport issues for their staff.”

The oil bank being launched in the car park of Sainsbury's Brazen Gate, Norwich. Picture: Steve AdamsThe oil bank being launched in the car park of Sainsbury's Brazen Gate, Norwich. Picture: Steve Adams

The recycling banks in South Norfolk are located at Swan Lane in Long Stratton, Tesco Harford Bridge, Bullock Fair in Harleston, Weavers Court in Diss and Ketts Park in Wymondham.

Rob Murphy, operations director of Thetford-based Living Fuels, said: “These banks are for cooking oils and some people are diligent but, because they are at unmanned sites, others have been putting in items like broken bottles, butane canisters and just general waste.

“I can’t have my guys being put in danger. It’s just people who don’t give a damn unfortunately which spoils it for those who do. It’s a shame. In principle it’s a good idea but unfortunately it hasn’t panned out.”

The recycling scheme aimed to encourage householders to safely dispose of cooking oil, so instead of blocking drainage systems the waste was turned into biodiesel. Residents were able to dispose of used vegetable oil, lard, roasting fats, BBQ fats, grill fats, margarine and butter.

Councillor Kay Mason-Billig at the oil bank in Long Stratton launched last year. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilCouncillor Kay Mason-Billig at the oil bank in Long Stratton launched last year. Picture: South Norfolk Council

Anglian Water deals with 35,000 drain blockages a year with more than half caused by items like used fats, oils and grease congealing into fatbergs.

Oil banks in Norwich are located at Waitrose in Eaton, Sainsburys on Queens Road, Morrisons at Riverside, the Tuckswood shops, Magdalen Street Car Park and on Enfield Road.

A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: “Living Fuels have made the decision to remove their oil recycling banks in Norwich due to misuse of the service. However, Norwich residents can continue to recycle their cooled cooking oil and fat via their kitchen food caddies, or place larger quantities in a sealed plastic container beside their external food caddy on collection day. Residents can also continue to recycle cooking oil at Mile Cross Recycling Centre on Swanton Road, Norwich.”

• For more information about recycling in Norwich go to norwich.gov.uk/recycling

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