What happens to your recycling?
Most recyclable material have a financial value and the revenue we receive from selling our recyclable materials helps to reduce the cost of your waste collection service. We recycle items in the UK where possible but sometimes have to send materials to Europe for reprocessing.
Recycled aluminium saves 90-95% of the energy needed to manufacture a can from scratch. There's no limit to the number of times aluminium can be recycled as it doesn't lose any quality during the recycling process. All the aluminium cans recycled in Mid Devon are reprocessed in the UK and in as little as six weeks can be back in your local store holding your favourite beverages.
All glass recycled in Mid Devon goes to a processing plant in the UK where it is sorted by colour and melted down. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be endlessly reprocessed with no loss of quality. Recycled glass has lots of commercial uses not just in new glass containers, but it’s also used in tiles and fibreglass products.
All paper collected in Mid Devon goes to a paper mill in Norfolk where it’s turned into national newspapers and numerous other paper types. Paper is a valuable material but only when it is clean. Any contamination renders it unrecyclable and can ruin the entire bale. 70% less energy is used when making new paper from recycled stock. Paper is graded before recycling and is made into different paper products depending on its quality.
Cardboard and cartons
Currently all cardboard and cartons collected in Mid Devon goes to a processing plant just outside of Barnstaple, where it is converted back into corrugated cardboard. Cardboard recycling involves a 6 step process- these steps are collection, sorting, shredding, pulping, filtering and finishing. It is possible to recycle cardboard more than 20 times before the fibres become too weak. Over 70% of the cardboard used in the UK is recycled.
Plastic and carrier bags
We work in partnership with Exeter City Council when sourcing a buyer for the plastic collected in Mid Devon and Exeter. Buyers are selected with the following preconditions:
- Preference for UK re-processors (The Proximity Principle highlights a need to treat and/or dispose of wastes in reasonable proximity to their point of generation. The principle works to minimize the environmental impact and cost of waste transport.)
- A competitive price for the product
- Principles of procurement
Every effort is made to ensure that the quality of the product meets the standard required by UK re-processors. The recycled plastic is sent to the East Midlands where it's either turned into flake, sheet or pellets.
UK Manufacturers then turn the product into an assortment of items e.g. traffic cones, playground flooring or car dashboards.
Recycled steel saves up to 74% of the energy needed to make steel from raw materials.
Recycling one tonne of steel cans saves:
- 1.5 tonnes of iron ore
- 0.5 tonnes of coke (high carbon content fuel)
- 1.28 tonnes of solid waste
- Reduces air emissions by 86%
- Reduces water pollution by 76%
Steel is not just used for making cans, its used for a range of products from biscuit tins, paint cans and water colours just to mention a few.
Giving your unwanted clothes and household textiles has raised millions of pounds for the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army estimate that 350,000 tonnes of clothing is not recycled which could generate up to £140 million. Clothes that are wearable are sold in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Any non-wearable textiles are made into industrial cleaning cloths.
All food waste collected within Mid Devon is sent to an anaerobic digestion facility within the UK. Anaerobic digestion is a process through which bacteria breaks down organic matter in the absence of oxygen.
The gases that are created from the bacteria breaking down organic matter is captured and used to create electricity. The by product from the anaerobic digestion process is organic fertilizer.