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Last week we had several exciting trips down to the auction mart at junction 36 near Kendal. That is one busy place, but why were we there on an off all day? Well, our colleagues at the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust had organised two days for people to drop off unwanted tree tubes that would then be sent for recycling.

The use of plastic tree tubes is rapidly becoming unacceptable, both in terms of the using plastics in the countryside, the litter and intrusion they cause but also their disposal. Much work is going on trialling new forms of tube from different materials, and we are hopeful that once in production, tubes made of materials such as sheep wool may be an alternative.

It will still be some years before there are realistic alternatives, so in the meantime, the focus is on recycling what is already out there. We re-use all our tubes where we can and offer them to any organisation or community group who can use them. But, for those that are left, we thought we would try recycling them.

Our colleagues at Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) held a trial couple of days whereby people could drop off dumpy bags of tree tubes at the J36 Auction Mart that would then be sent for recycling. With the help of volunteer Andy, we packed up some dumpy bags from High Borrowdale, the Helm and Mike’s Wood, and took around 1000 tubes down to the recycling site. As we have no trailer, this meant we could only fit one bag in the back of the truck at a time, hence all the trips down to the mart!

This was as much a trial for YDMT to gauge the practicalities and demand for such work, as it was for us in assessing just how many tubes make up a dumpy bag, and working out how many bags worth we may actually have across our land. At the moment only Tubex/green tubes can be recycled, so all the black ones we have over at Middle Bleansley were not eligible but this may change in time. 

Another landmark day was had with the volunteers over at Mazonwath when the dry stone wallers finally joined the two bits of wall – the wall we have been rebuilding for the last ten years, with the small stretch of wall that had previously been rebuilt. We have not quite finished it as yet, but it was very satisfying to finally link the two bits together. One issue though, with no gap between the two, how do those on the bottom side of the wall get back over what we have built for their lunch?!!