In West Berkshire, the new collections include a wider range of materials for recycling. But what happens to the waste, after it has been collected by a refuse vehicle?
Waste collected by a refuse vehicle is taken to a transfer station, then to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). West Berkshire now has it's own MRF at Padworth.
The recyclable materials are kept separate, to keep contamination to a minimum, and can be processed in a MRF to further separate the different materials. It is important to separate different materials, as you can only recycle one type at a time. Even different types of plastics need to be recycled individually.
The Magpie technology at Padworth can separate different types and colours of plastic bottles. The different types are baled and sent to re-processors, to be made into new products. PET can be made into fleece garments, insulating linings, sleeping bag stuffing, even loft insulation. HDPE can be used to make things like drainage pipes and garden furniture.
Tins and cans:
Tins for food products are made from mild steel, drinks cans are made from aluminium. Steel cans can be removed from the aluminium ones by the use of a magnet.
Steel cans go to a secondary processor, who will remove the tinning from the inside of the can, which will be sent for recycling. The remaining mild steel can then be melted down and made into a new product. It could be new steel cans, but also potentially items as diverse as paperclips or car parts.
Aluminium cans go to a secondary re-processor, who will make them all into new drinks cans. Aluminium from cans is very pure and of the highest quality. The cans are melted in a furnace, and formed into ingots. The ingots are rolled out into aluminium plate, and then again into thin aluminium sheet. From this, new cans can be made.
Paper and Card:
Paper, card and cardboard is separated at a MRF into different grades. Newspapers and magazines are the highest grade, with mixed paper and card and cardboard as lower grades. The different grades of material go to make different products.
Newspapers and magazines are used to make new newspapers. It can take as little as 7 days to make a new newspaper from an old one. Glossy magazines that are made from new paper are important to have in the mix, as they contribute additives like chalk and clay to make the recycled paper white. This grade of paper will go to one of the two newsprint mills in the UK to be made into newspapers.
Mixed paper and card can used for making packaging material and also for lower quality paper items. This grade of paper will be sent to one of the many mixed paper mills in the UK, to be made in to paper and packaging.
Cardboard will go to a cardboard recycling mill in the UK, where it will be used to make new cardboard products.
Green Garden and Food Waste:
Your mixed green garden and food waste is collected and taken directly to a local processing facility in Padworth. Here the incoming waste is checked, mixed, shredded and composted.