All our recycling goes to a Materials Recovery Facility in Warwickshire where it’s sorted by hand and machine and baled into respective waste streams for processing. All non-recyclable items that are in the blue bins generally are pulled out of the system and sent to an energy from waste plant where they are turned into electricity.
Mixed paper is sent to Deeside for expert grading so the paper can be baled according to quality. These bales are sent to paper mills in Manchester, the Netherlands or Germany where the used paper is turned into a fibre pulp, ready for new products.
Cardboard is mainly sent to reprocessing plants in Indonesia as that’s where the global demand for used cardboard packaging is strongest. It’s shipped on relatively empty cargo container ships making the return journey to South East Asia.
Glass is taken to one of the big reprocessors either in the Midlands or the North of England where its washed, sorted into colours and either goes on to make new bottles and jars, glass wool insulation for homes or aggregate for the construction industry.
Our steel is sent to Port Talbot and Doncaster for reprocessing and ends up as parts for all sorts of new products such as: bikes, cars, bridges, paperclips, or even new food and drinks cans while all our aluminium is sent to Warrington and reprocessed into more cans.
Plastic is reprocessed in Greater Manchester before being sent to a range of reprocessors in the UK or EU to be made into plastic flake for making into new plastic packaging, plastic sheet or pipes.
We no longer send any waste to landfill but all our general waste is recovered by sending it to an energy from waste plant at Bicester where it’s incinerated and turned into electricity.
Food waste is recycled by Anaerobic digestion, which is a natural process where plant and animal materials (known as biomass) are broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of air. The process releases a methane-rich gas that is used to generate renewable heat and power; this helps cut fossil fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The remaining material, known as digestate, is rich in nutrients, so it can be used as a fertiliser.
All of our vehicles collecting recycling are 'twin packs', so they have a split compartment on the back. The food waste is put into a separate compartment on the back of the vehicle to the rubbish and recycling and is sent to a different reprocessor to the recycling or rubbish.
The vehicles often have a spare bin on the back which the crews can use to tip each individual food waste caddy into before emptying the contents of that bin into the food waste compartment on the vehicle.