Where does my recycling go?
Paper and cardboard
Paper and cardboard is taken to our depot until Saica Natur comes to collect it in bulk. It is transported to their paper mill in Manchester where it is recycled into new paper and cardboard products.
Mixed Recycling - glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, cans
Mixed recycling is stored at our depot until Viridor comes to collect it. It is then transported to the Material Recycling Facility in Leyland where the material is separated into four parts: glass, plastic bottles, aluminium cans and steel cans.
The steel and aluminium cans are removed using a large over-band magnet to extract steel cans and an Eddy Current separator to remove aluminium. The Eddy Current works by passing an electric charge through the metal causing it to be pushed into a collection container. The steel and aluminium go to reprocessors in the UK to make new food and drinks cans or other metal products such as cars, train tracks, bicycle frames, pipes and ship hulls.
After the metals have been removed, the glass and plastic bottles are crushed in giant rubber rollers. Broken glass is then filtered through a glass screen that separates the large and small pieces. The large pieces of glass go for further sorting to ensure all contamination is removed and is then sent to the UK glass remelt industry to make new glass bottles and jars. The smaller pieces of glass tend to go for use in things such as road surfacing.
The remaining plastic bottles are then fed through the optical sorter which is able to separate one type of plastic bottle from another. It does this by shining light onto the plastic bottles as they pass along a conveyor belt and sorting them depending on the unique pattern of light they generate.
The two main types of plastics are HDPE (High-density polyethylene) and PET (Polyethylene terephthalate). All HDPE goes to a local reprocessing facility where it is washed, compounded and formed into pellets. It is then sold on to various UK markets but mainly to manufacture pipe products.
The PET is washed, flaked and colour separated. This material then goes to other markets predominantly packaging to produce 'clam shells', blister packs and food packaging such as salad trays. Other uses are fibre manufacture which is used in products such as duvets, pillows etc or geotextiles used for reinforcement or car roof lining.
Any remaining mixed plastics go for further separation where additional material is extracted and recovered if possible. There are currently limited markets for this material and therefore we do not aim to collect general mixed plastics. This means that some plastic still goes to landfill, some is incinerated and some is used in UK manufacturing.
Garden waste is taken to Suez Environment at Pendle Transfer Station in Colne. They take it to another site where it is composted and eventually sent to the UK retail and landscaping market.