Your bins

What happens to your waste

Blue bin

Your blue bin waste is taken to a materials recovery facility in Leicestershire where it travels along conveyor belts so that it can be separated into different types of material using various methods. Paper and cardboard are separated using rotating disks. Glass is smashed so that it drops out of the main waste stream onto its own conveyor belt. Plastics are separated and sorted into different types using an optical sorter. Steel cans are separated using magnets and aluminium cans using an eddy current. Around the site the conveyor belts will also pass through visual inspection cabins where missed items are removed by hand. Once the different materials have been separated they are baled up and sent to re-processors to make new things.

Black bin

Your black bin waste is taken to Milton Keynes Recovery Park which is a new facility that uses mechanical, biological and thermal treatment to recover as much value from your waste as possible. Firstly your waste is put onto a number of conveyor belts which carry the waste through separating machinery which pick out items of recycling that have been accidently put in the wrong bin like tin cans and plastic bottles. Any food or biodegradable waste is also removed. The recovered recyclable items are then sent to be recycled and the food and biodegradable waste is put into an aerobic digester. In the anaerobic digester the waste is broken down to produce a biogas which is used to generate electricity and a compost-like material which can be used on brownfield sites. Everything else is treated using an advanced thermal technology; this produces syngas which is used to generate electricity. The electricity which is generated is fed back into the national grid.

Green bin

Your green bin waste is taken to an open windrow composting site in Northamptonshire. The waste is shredded and mixed to help it break down and then it is put into piles called windrows. Over the next few months it breaks down into compost which is used by local farmers.

Silver caddy

Your food waste from your silver caddy is taken to an anaerobic digester in Oxfordshire. The anaerobic digester breaks down the food waste to produce a biogas which is used to generate electricity that is fed back into the national grid and a bio-fertiliser which can be used by local farmers to improve the quality of their soil.