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What happens to your recycling and rubbish?

What happens to your recyclables collected from blue lidded bins?

Your mixed recyclables are emptied directly from your blue lid bin into our collection vehicle.

They are then taken to a sorting facility called a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).

Your recyclables are loaded onto a conveyor belt for sorting. The MRF equipment uses state-of-the-art technology to separate the materials to produce high quality recyclables for re-sale back into recycling markets.

The MRF is managed by a licensed waste management company, who charge a 'gate fee' for every tonne of your recycling that we take there. As the waste is not landfilled we do not have to pay the government a landfill tax.

However, we are charged extra if the recyclable material is contaminated with other materials as it slows down the recycling process and can cause damage to the machinery. This is why it is important to only include materials we ask for in your blue lidded bin.

How your recycling is then made in to new materials

Most materials for recycling are sold on the 'open market'. This means that once they have been sorted and baled, they are sold to companies who will recycle them to make new products. Companies that buy the materials are mostly in the UK or Europe.

There are strict regulations about how recycling companies operate and what they do with materials for recycling. The Environmental Agency monitors such companies and takes legal enforcement action if necessary. We also monitor the waste management companies we contract with through procurement procedures and on going audit processes. For more information go to the Environmental Agency website.

How is it recycled - watch videos of recycling in action.

What happens to your garden waste collected from wheeled bins

Your garden waste is tipped directly from your green wheeled bin into our collection vehicle.

When our garden waste vehicle is full we drop off your garden waste at Serco's new transfer station, in Eagle Lane, Tipton.

Your garden waste is then taken in bulk to specialist sites in the region.

Your garden waste is then composted using a system called 'open windrows'. Garden waste is piled up in long heaps and is broken up and turned by a digger to mix it and give it air. It is converted into peat free soil improver in around 3 to 4 months.

Composting sites are managed by licensed waste management companies, they charge a 'gate fee' for every tonne of your garden waste that we take there. We do not have to pay the government a tax, however, we are charged extra if the garden waste is contaminated with other materials.

What happens to your recyclables and rubbish taken to the Household Recycling Centre

The responsibility for recycling and waste disposal from the Household Recycling Centre (HRC) is with the site contractor Serco.

There are lots of containers for recycling a wide range of materials at the HRC, so there are many different companies collecting and reprocessing your recycling from there.

The site aims to recycle as much as possible, however, a small amount of the waste that is taken there cannot be recycled - some of this waste goes to a landfill site.

What happens to your non-recyclable rubbish collected from home

Your household waste/refuse is emptied directly from your grey wheeled bin into our collection vehicle.

When our collection vehicle is full we drop off your rubbish at Serco's new transfer station, in Eagle Lane, Tipton.

Your rubbish is then squashed into bales and transferred to the landfill site at Poplars, Cannock . Sometimes we will send some of your rubbish to local incinerators, such as those at Dudley, Stoke and Wolverhampton - the burning of the rubbish is used to produce electricity.

Most of your landfilled rubbish will never decompose. Some rubbish will decompose, without air - creating gases including methane and carbon dioxide and an unpleasant liquid called 'leachate' that has to be collected and treated before disposal.

Landfill sites are managed by licensed waste management companies who charge a 'gate fee' for every tonne of your rubbish that we take there. We also pay the government a tax for every tonne of your rubbish we send to landfill.  Last financial year 2010/11 the tax was £56 per tonne and we sent around 41,000 tonnes of your rubbish to landfill, which was approximately 33% of your rubbish.

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Pages in "What happens to your recycling and rubbish?"

  1. You are here What happens to your recycling and rubbish?
  2. Education on recycling