Where your recycling goes

Material collected from recycling boxes are hand sorted by our crews at the kerbside into the separate compartments on the recycling trucks. It is then taken to the Biffa waste transfer station where it is bulked and bailed before it is transported to different destinations to be processed and recycled.

Plastic packaging

All plastic recycling collected in North Somerset is processed in the UK.

Household plastic packaging such as bottles, pots, tubs and trays are taken to Biffa’s plastic processing plant in Aldridge. From there they are taken to Redcar where the different types of plastic are sorted, graded and shredded. The plastic pellets that are created are sold to manufacturers and recycled into various products including milk bottles, cosmetic tubes, drainage pipes, compost bins and car parts.

Hard plastics taken to our recycling centres are sent on Wessex Plastics in Bridgwater and made into new plastic items.

Unfortunately, we cannot collect black plastic from your recycling box as it can’t be sorted at the recycling facility.

Metal packaging

Household steel and aluminium packaging is sorted using magnets.

Aluminium waste is sent to Novellis in Warrington where it is recycled into new aluminium cans. Used aluminum cans, can be recycled, reprocessed, remade and ready for resale in approximately 60 days. In a year, a can could be recycled eight times, saving enough energy to make 160 new cans.

Steel tins and aerosol cans are sent to a facility in South Wales where they are recycled into new steel products. Recycled steel can be found in a huge variety of products, including bicycle frames, pipes, train tracks, ship hulls, cars, bridges and paperclips as well as new household tins and cans.

Paper

Paper waste, such as newspaper, magazines, envelopes and junk mail is taken to a paper mill in King’s Lynn. It is turned into new paper for use by the newsprint industry.

Textiles

Textile waste, such as clothes and shoes, is taken to Wilcox textiles recycler in the Wolverhampton. The textiles are sorted and lower quality textiles are recycled into cleaning cloths and sound proofing felt for the automotive industry in the UK. Higher quality clothes are sent abroad to Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe for reuse.

Cardboard and cartons

Cardboard and cartons are taken to either DS Smith in Kent or Edwards Waste Paper in Essex and recycled into new cardboard packaging in 14 days.

Recycling cardboard reduces the need to cut down trees. It also cuts most of the chemicals used in the treatment process and saves energy as it takes far less effort to recycle than it does to make cardboard from scratch.

Mixed glass

Mixed glass bottles and jars are exported from Cardiff to Portugal where crushed glass can be recycled into new glass products.

Batteries

Household batteries (AA, AAA, B, C, D) should be placed in a clear plastic bag in the recycling box to keep them together. They are sent to G & P Batteries in the West Midlands to be sorted by battery type. The sorted batteries are sent to be recycled to recover the metal and be made into new batteries.

Find out more about battery recycling on the Recycle More website.

Food waste

Food waste, collected from your food caddy, is taken to our anaerobic digester in Weston-super-Mare. It is broken down by microorganisms to produce biogas, which is used to generate electricity and heat homes in North Somerset.

A nutrient rich fertiliser is also produced from the recycled food waste. It is used on agricultural land as well as woodland, grassland and landfill restoration projects.

Electrical items

Electrical items are collected by Sims Recycling Solutions. Some items are disassembled and some are shredded. The different material is separated and recycled. Chemicals, such as lead, are safely disposed of.

You can watch a video about how small electrical items are recycled on the Vimeo website.

Garden waste

Garden waste is taken to Enovert in Gloucester for composting. The waste is shredded, laid out in rows and turned regularly to oxygenate. After about 10 weeks it can be used as a soil improver on farmers’ fields.

Recycling centres

You can also take lots of other items to your local recycling centre including larger electrical items, wood, fridges and freezers, cooking oil, plaster board, sheets of glass, paint, tiles and ceramics.

These are sent to locations across the UK to be reprocessed and turned into something new.

Rubbish

If you can’t reuse or recycle something, the item will probably end up in your wheeled rubbish bin.

We can send some of this waste to New Earth Solutions which is a mechanical biological treatment plant. They separate the materials and turn it into a compost-like material which is used in land restoration. They also create a refuse derived fuel which is used to generate renewable energy. This process is known as energy recovery.

Refuse which is not recyclable is sent to landfills in Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Next year we will be moving towards a zero landfill contract. This means we’ll aim to divert all waste from landfill to energy recovery. Rubbish will be sent to the Energy from Waste plant in Avonmouth or to a plant which is due to open in Bristol. The rubbish will either be recycled or used as a refuse derived fuel.