I am often asked where the various materials we put in our green bins end up. As part of my work on the Council’s Environment and Neighbourhood Scrutiny Board we visited the Council’s Recycling Contractor Martin’s at Beeston and were shown the various processing facilities. I thought you would find it interesting to know about some of the most common things we recycle.
PET Bottles (plastic drinks bottles, etc.) are sent to a company in Lincolnshire who make new bottles from them. They work closely with Coca Cola. Plastic milk bottles are washed and “flaked” in Leeds and sold within the UK to be made into various plastic products for example stock board which is used in the construction industry to cover gas and electric pipes once they are in the ground.
Paper and newspapers are sent to a paper mill in the UK to be made back into newspapers, it takes about six weeks from them being in the green bin to being back to newspaper again. Glass is made into glass and steel cans are made into various steel products. Aluminium cans are smelted down in the UK and made into various aluminium products including car parts.
The waste left over after all the recyclable products have been dealt with is sent for “Refuse Derived Fuel” at the recycling company’s own plant in Northampton – the waste is shredded and sent as a replacement for fossil fuels for burning in cement kilns.