Stop and think! - After your recycling is collected it is taken to a recycling facility to be sorted (see here how your recycling is sorted). If the wrong items or materials are put through the recycling facility they cause problems with its operation and impact on the quality to the sorted materials. The law reqires that all of us recycle correctly.
For guidance of what should be put into the blue bin visit: What goes in which bin
Sampling of loads
Before any of the recycling is put through the recycling plant a visual check is made on the quality of the material. If the quality is not of a high enough standard the load is rejected and not recycled. On a regular basis (every 120 tonnes) a sample is also taken and again if the sample contains more than 14% non-target material (materials not accepted) the load will be rejected and none of it recycled. These rejected loads are a cost to the facility and the council and therefore the tax payer. They also affect the districts recycling rate.
Rejection of Contaminated bins
In order to reduce the chance of a rejected load the collection crews are instructed to make a visual check of every blue bin before it is emptied. If they spot something that should not be in the blue bin they will tag the bin and it will not be emptied. The tag that is attached to the bin will explain why the bin has not been emptied.
The most common items and materials that cause the biggest problems are:
- Nappies / Sanitary Products
- Food Waste
- Animal Bedding
- Refuse Sacks (i.e. bin bags)
- DIY Materials
- Plastic Toys
- Garden waste
- General waste
Refuse sacks are a particular problem as when we do spot checks or view the rejected material from the recycling facility a refuse sack will usually contain unacceptable items as above.
The issue of the wrong items been put into a recycling bin is a national issue and not specific to Cannock itself. This is reflected in an article on the BBC New Pages: Rejected recyclable waste up 84% in England since 2011, data shows
When you put your recycling into your blue bin we request that you put it in loose and not in bags. Your blue bin should look like those shown below:
Rejected Blue Bins FAQs - Problem Materials
Below are some Frequenty Asked Questions regarding the most common none recyclable/not accepted materials that blue bins will be rejected for, if found to contain them.
Why can’t the Council take all recyclable materials?
- The Council uses a large Materials Recycling Facility in the West Midlands, unfortunately, while it is very good at sorting paper/cardboard, glass bottles, tins/cans and plastic bottles, tubs and trays it is unable to process all recyclable materials due to current technology constraints – this is the case for all Material Recycling Facilities across the country.
Why can’t the Council recycle my nappies?
- While there are a few companies that specialise in recycling used nappies across Europe they need to be collected and treated separately, as their contents can be easily spread throughout the load making the other recyclables unrecyclable.
Is the recycling the Council collects washed at the Materials Recycling Facility?
- No, the recycling is not washed as part of the process at the materials recycling facility; it is separated into its specific material, bulked together and sold on to be reprocessed into recycled materials.
Does the Council get paid for the recycling it takes into the Materials Recycling Facility?
- No, the Council has to pay a cost per tonne to the Materials Recycling Facility to process the waste. The Council is however allowed to derive some income from the recycling once they are sold on. There is also an income claimed from the County Council for every tonne recycled (Recycling Credits).
What is the cost of a rejected load?
- Each load rejected can on average cost the Council and its partners approximately £1,500 in the cost of disposal at landfill and loss of recycling credits.
Why won’t the Council take my blue bin if there are refuse sacks in it?
- Unfortunately some residents insist on hiding unsuitable items such as nappies, food waste and animal bedding in refuse sacks/ bags; this has become such a problem that the Council has now decided to refuse to take bins containing them.
How does Cannock Chase Council compare with other local Councils for contaminated loads?
- Most local Councils have difficulty with contamination from time to time but unfortunately Cannock Chase seems to have a larger problem than its neighbouring Staffordshire authorities that use the same materials recycling facility.
Can I recycle DIY materials such as paint, varnish tins and pots in my blue bin?
- No, unfortunately the process our dry recycling collection goes through does not allow for these types of materials at this time, however, you can take them to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre where staff will tell you if they can recycle them or what you should do with them.
Can polystyrene foam packing or polystyrene trays be recycled?
- No, unfortunately not at present, as it cannot be sorted and breaks up during the collection and sorting process resulting in contamination of other materials
Where can I find out more information?
- The Councils website and the ‘what goes in what bin’ page on the website.
Where can I put my animal bedding?
- Animal bedding cannot be in any of our recycling/bins processes at the moment and therefore should be disposed of in your green bin or at your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre.
Why can’t the Council take textiles with the blue bin, yet it can collect them at its ‘Bring Sites’?
- Textiles that are collected from the Council’s Bring Sites are clean as they are only stored with other textiles and in most cases can be reused. Textiles that are put into your blue bin are mixed and compacted with allsorts of other materials, such as glass making them of little use. They can also cause issues with the sorting process.
What does the Council mean by the word textiles?
- Textiles are anything that is made from natural or manmade materials in a cloth form including: bedding, duvets, pillows, clothing, curtains, carpets, cushions and towels.
Why does my small waste electrical item need to be left outside the bin?
- While small electrical items are collected by the same collection crew they are not processed at the same place, electrical items are placed into another part of the vehicle and not off loaded with the main dry recycling.
Why should my recycling be clean and loose?
- Items containing food, paint, oils or other liquids are classed as being contaminated and can contaminate other items when they are compacted on the back of our collection vehicle. If they are bagged up it is difficult for our collection crews to spot contamination before it reaches the Materials Recycling Facility.
Why can’t I put food waste in my blue bin?
- Food waste has to be disposed of in a certain and controlled way in order to kill all of the bacterial that it can produce. The contents of your blue bin are not recycled in a way that can kill bacteria or that can separate food from it. The food waste can also contaminate/spoil the other recyclables.
Does it matter if there is only a small amount of food waste left inside a container – i.e. a pizza box?
- While it may seem petty to some, yes it does, as it means the container (i.e. pizza box) cannot be recycled and its contents may be spread into other clean recycled materials.
Can I recycle unwanted / old DIY materials?
- No, unfortunately most unwanted / old DIY materials are not suitable for recycling currently at the Council’s recycling facility.
Can I put video or cassette tapes in my recycling bin?
- Video and cassette tapes cannot be recycled and can cause issues to machines at the recycling facility due to the tape becoming tangled up in the machinery.
Can I recycle old toys?
- Unfortunately, most unwanted / old toys are not suitable for recycling currently at the Council’s recycling facility.
Why is the Council so prescriptive in what it can take in its blue recycling bin?
- The council has a contract with the recycling facility to deliver specific materials that the facility is capable of sorting. A load that contains the wrong items/materials will be rejected at a cost to the council.
Why can’t I put metal and wire in my blue bin?
- Metal wire can get caught up in the recycling machinery at the materials recycling facility and cause damage.
What do I do if my recycling bin isn’t emptied because the crews consider it contaminated/contains unacceptable material?
- You should remove the offending items/materials and present your bin for collection on your next collection day.The Councils contactor will not return for a contammated tagged bin. The contents of the bins can be taken to the local Householde Waste and Recycling Centre if it too full for you to wait until your next recycling collection day. Alternatively the Councils waste contractor does offer a bulky waste colection. They can be contacted directly 01543 225034.
What do I do with my waste that the Council will not collect?
- Waste that cannot be recycled or composted should be put into your green bin, large bulky items should be taken to the Household Waste and Recycling Centre . Alternatively the Council does operate a chargeable bulky collection service
What happens to recycling that cannot be processed at the material recycling facility?
- Materials that are rejected from the recycling facility are mostly disposed of via landfill. This emans that material that could have been recycled is not.
Can CD’s and their cases be recycled
- Unfortunately they cannot be sorted and recycled as they break up into pieces and the material they are made from cannot currently be reprocessed
Cam shredded paper be recycled
- Because of the way it is collected and sorted shredded paper can not be recycled as it cannot be sorted at the recycling plant. In fact it causes problems by contaminating other materials – particularly glass.
Why can textiles be taken at the Councils Bring Sites and put into textile banks and not in the blue bin?
- When textiles are put into a textile bank they are taken straight to a textile recycling company whereas if they are put into the blue bin they cause issues at the recycling facility (getting tangled up in machinery) and they also become damaged by the other materials and sorting process which cause them to lose their reuse value.
Is the recycling plant completely automated?
- While the materials recycling process is mainly automated it does involve hand picking. This is to try ensure the quality of the material. Over the past few years more and more quality checkers have been used as the quality of the material that we , and others, have been delivering has fallen. This has a cost implication to the company and the Council, and ultimately the tax payer.
Why do my food and other containers need to be empty?
- Oils, Liquids, foods and greasy pruducts can spoil the other materials, rendering them and other items unrecyclable – please make sure containers are emptied.
Is the issue of rejected material a new problem?
- Since 2015 there have had to be more stringent quality checks on recycling the loads that are delivered to recycling plant. In accordance with legislation the recycling plant now has to take samples and report its findings to the Government (Environment Agency) on the quality of the material. This is because recyclate was becoming poorer in quality in general accross the country.
Can black food trays be recycling?
- The sorting technology used to sort plastics uses infrared light and unfortunately it does not recognise black and so the trays cannot be sorted and recycled.
Last Updated: 26/08/2020