Recycle Week

21-27 September 2020 Find out how you can do your part to protect the planet by recycling one more thing

Bin Your Bag Habit in Recycle Week

Recycling is one of the simplest ways to help protect our planet. We can all do this by recycling one more thing to help protect natural resources for future generations. If we all did a little bit more, we could help give items like plastic bottles and tin cans a new lease of life back into bottles and cans or even other products. But the first step is to pop it in a recycling bin.


How to Bin Your Bag Habit

Sort your waste and recycling as you go so when it comes to putting the recycling out for bin day, it won't seem like a chore.

This will also be useful for when you make visits to one of Birmingham's Household Recycling Centres (HRCs). By sorting your waste and recycling into categories such as, green waste, small electricals that are no longer fit for purpose, wood, clothes, etc., it will make the time spent at the HRCs much quicker.

Dowload the leaflets the below to help you recycle more of the right things in the right way:


Bin Your Bag Habit leaflet (3.17 MB)
Sort it. Bring it. Save it! recycling campaign leaflet (9.78 MB)



What happens to my recycling?

The materials from your recycling bin (excluding paper and card from the paper pod) go to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) to be sorted and separated so they can be sent to reprocessors to be turned into new products. The infographic shows Birmingham’s journey of recycling that is processed by Veolia.

Birmingham Recycling Journey Infographic (193.9 KB)

What happens at a MRF?

Ever wondered how the recycling is sorted at a MRF after it leaves the kerbside and Household Recycling Centres? Here's a video to explain how the materials are  separated before they move on to reprocessors to be turned into something new.

Journey of a Milk Bottle

Recycling journey of a milk bottle

The Journey of a Milk Bottle

Natural HDPE is one of the most commonly used plastics and one of its uses is to make milk bottle. Here is the recycling journey of the milk bottle.


The Journey of a Milk Bottle (174.39 KB)

Here are some top tips to be a top recycler

Plan your meals

Make a list before you go to the supermarket to avoid food being wasted

Check before you drop

Check what can and can't be put in your recycling bin at home on Birmingham City Council's website 

Can the item be reused?

Jam jars can be reused as great storage solutions to help  you keep organised

Have separate bins

It's easier to recycle as you go when you're separating it as you go

Don't forget the bathroom

Toilet roll tubes, shampoo bottles, deodorant cans can all be recycled. To help make things easier, why not hang a cotton tote bag on the back of the door

Sort it. Bring it. Save it!

Visit the Sort it. Bring it. Save it! page to see how to make your HRC trips more efficient

Clean as you go

It's easier to recycle if you're not having to do it all at once. Remove any food contaminants from things like milk bottles, cans, trays, etc. before recycling

Get everyone involved

Split the rooms between the people in the home so everyone is responsible for the recycling in their assigned room

2020 Sustainable Commitments (9.7 MB)

Download Veolia's Sustainable Commitments for 2020 here.

Questions & answers

What are the benefits of recycling?

Recycling helps protects the environment by reducing the amount of raw material is used to make new products, saving natural resources. This in turn reduces air and water pollution.

Energy is also saved as less of it is used to make new products when materials are recycled.

By recycling you are also doing your bit to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions which will help combat climate change.


What does my recycling actually get turned into?

Birmingham Recycling Journey Infographic (670.99 KB)

What else can I do to help the environment other than recyling?

There are lots of ways to help the environment and it starts with changing our behaviour. Instead of throwing things away, ask if yourself if you could reuse things for other purposes, such as jam jars being used for storage, a vase, or even a snowglobe to gift to a loved one. 

You could also reduce your waste consumption by buying less - when doing a big food shop,  make a list of the things you need and stick to the list when you go shopping. You could also help by buying loose fruit and veg to reduce the packaging on pre-packed goods.


What is the waste hierarchy?

The waste hierarchy has a preference when it comes to waste and recycling and preferred order is as follows:


Reduce your consumption where possible. For example, when you go to supermarkets, refrain from buying fruit and veg packaged in plastic wrapping/film that can't be recycled. Instead, opt for loose produce so there isn't any packaging to discard. 



If you must purchase something new, take a look at preloved items first. There are lots of charity shops and reuse centres that also give back to great causes where things have been donated by people that no longer have a need for them but they are still in working order.



Recycling is the best way to dispose of waste where possible so that it can be processed to make something new if you aren't able to reuse it. An example of a milk bottle being reused can be found by clicking here.



If all the above have been exhausted and nothing is left but to dispose of the waste, it then goes on to be recovered through energy recovery along with other general household waste. This is where the waste is incinerated and goes through a process to then generate electricity to power homes in Birmingham. An example of how an energy recovery facility (ERF) works, click here to see a video animation of an ERF.

Where can I recycle my batteries?

Batteries can be recycled at any of the five HRCs in Birmingham. They shouldn't be disposed of in bins at home as it can cause fires in the waste movement vehicles and transfer stations.

It's important to recycle batteries in the right way so that it doesn't cause a fire. This includes taking them out of appliances when you take them down to the recycling centres.