AFTER the Christmas binge comes the post-Yuletide hangover.
And it is isn’t limited to headaches, dry mouths and the inability to get out of bed.
Our festive excesses leave another kind of hangover – the year’s largest pile of rubbish.
And the staff at Sita recycling and refuse plant, Hillhouse, are responsible for sorting the trash mountain into material which can be recycled or incinerated and converted into electricity.
The plant receives 200 tonnes of rubbish per day but when the bin lorries roll in with their first collection of the year the amount increases by almost one-third.
The plant handles an average of 2,248 tonnes of recyclable rubbish every month, but in January the figure is nearly 3,000 tonnes.
Rubbish and recyclable materials are dropped off in piles almost reaching the plant’s high ceiling.
The plant receives a surge in waste immediately after Easter and Mother’s Day but the post-Christmas rubbish rise is unparalleled throughout the year.
As most of us like a Christmas and New Year’s Eve tipple it’s no surprise that the operation receives a vastly increased influx of cans and bottles.
Cards, wrapping paper, and cardboard packaging fly in at a rate of knots.
But for the staff at the plant it’s a normal day. Senior site manager Jacquie Ross said: “We can only process at one speed but eventually we catch up.
“We get a lot of cardboard boxes from all the electrical presents that people get for Christmas.
“We get bottles and cans because people have been treating themselves.
“You can tell by the amount and type of rubbish that people have had a good Christmas!”
But when it comes to recycling rubbish festive goodwill doesn’t always prevail.
Jacquie said: “We still get nappies, hypodermic needles and videotapes.
“The nappies and needles aren’t nice for our staff to handle and the tape from the video cassettes gets into the workings of the machines. People need to make sure that they throw the right stuff in the right bins.”
In 1998 Sita was awarded a 25-year contract with Kirklees Council to manage the borough’s waste.
It runs all the council’s domestic waste tips and recycling centres.
The incinerator at Hillhouse processes 136,000 tonnes of waste each year and generates approximately 10 Megawatts of electricity, enough to supply the annual electricity needs of around 15,000 homes.