What happens to our Recycling?
Ever wondered where your refuse and recycling goes once your bins have been emptied? Currently we recycle around half of the waste collected from your home, here we explain how.
Blue Bin and Red Box
The recycling collected from your blue bin and red box is taken to a Material Recycling Facility (MRF) in Corby.
At the MRF, all the mixed recycling from your blue bin is sorted and separated into different types of materials by hand and machine before being sent to manufacturers who make it into new products.
Paper is collected separately as it is more valuable as a clean product and can be made into a higher quality paper when it is recycled.
There are many recycling plants in the UK, reprocessing millions of tonnes of material every year. All of the newsprint manufactured here in the UK is now made from 100% recycled paper and over 80% of the glass collected for recycling is used in the UK, the majority of it to make new glass bottles and jars.
The garden waste from your grey bin is taken to a local windrow compost site where it is made into compost.
The organic waste is shredded, mixed and placed into windrows which are turned on a regular basis to improve oxygen content, distribute heat to regulate temperature and to distribute moisture. The windrows are turned multiple times during the composting process, which takes on average sixteen weeks.
The compost is then screened to remove contaminants such as plastics and metals and to also grade the compost which can be applied in a range of end uses, within gardens, on brownfield sites, landscaping and full scale agriculture.
The residual waste from your black bin is taken to a local site in Rushton where it is stored before being transported to a Mechanical Biological Treatment Site (MBT) at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire.
The waste is is machine sorted in a plant where recyclable items such as metals and plastics are removed. These items are sent for recycling but they are a very low grade as they have been mixed in with general waste.
The residue which is left after recyclables have been removed is moved to a composting hall. The hall is 75m wide by 200m long and the compost is 3m deep. The residue is processed using air channels and irrigated rain water collected from the roof. It takes seven weeks to move from one side of the hall to the other and the end product is a compost like material which is currently put into a landfill on site. There are plans to use this product as a fuel in the future.
This process reduces the amount of waste being landfilled in your black bin by 40-45%.
Last updated: 26/11/2014