Recycling frequently asked questions

Your questions answered

Why have we just started to ban plastic bags?

Our re-processor has highlighted the risks associated with opening carrier bags containing recycling. Recycling collected in plastic bags also makes sorting the material much harder; there is no machinery at the sorting plant to split the bags and the bags need to be opened and emptied by hand, which is a health and safety hazard for the staff meaning all the recycling you collect will not be recycled as it would normally as it would have to go to landfill.

 

Prior to this what did you do with our plastic bags?

Plastic bags have been separated from the other material and not recycled, plastic bags have always caused problems at our sorting plants by ‘clumping’ material together and increase the amount of material classed as contaminated therefore rejected and not recycled.

 

But aren't plastic bags recyclable?

Not all carrier bags are recyclable; some aren’t even made of plastic; plastic bags can be re-used or returned to shops for specialist recycling similar to some coffee cups. In the case of biodegradable bags these can be used in your domestic bin but not the recycling boxes or bins as it is still a bag and that will cause the issue as a carrier bag. The biodegradable bags must not be used for caddy liners due to the disposal and recycling process for food waste.

 

But I put my recycling in clear plastic bags?

We are now asking residents to leave recycling loose into their blue lidded bins and boxes. If you use clear bags to collect your recycling inside your home, please empty the contents when transferring it into your recycling container, leaving your recycled items loose. The advantage of doing this is that all materials will be easily identified and then recycled which means that less items would be categorised as contaminated and you’ll be able to fit more into the recycling container. Please wash and squash to get maximum material into your bin. Please let us know if you feel that you don’t have enough capacity (large families/households etc.) and we’ll advise.

 

Will you provide me with clear plastic bags?

No. Clear plastic bags should only be used if presenting additional recycling.  By washing and squashing the material and leaving recycling loose in your recycling container, you’ll be able to fit more items in, this should reduce the need to use clear plastic bags that will ultimately go to landfill.

 

How is it that you take additional recycling in plastic bags?

Additional recycling must be presented in clear bags or preferably loose in boxes, not in carrier bags. The staff at the sorting plant need to be able to clearly see the items in the bags; non see through bags  will be  classed as contamination as the staff will not be able to see if there is anything in the bags that could harm them. Unfortunately, there is no onsite mechanical bag splitter to aide this process.

 

Can I put clear bags that I use to collect my recycling in the home in my recycling container?

No, the recycling container will be tagged as contaminated and will not be collected. You will need to remove the contaminated item(s) and re-present your container on the next recycling collection round. If you use clear bags to collect your recycling inside your home, please empty the contents when transferring them into your recycling container, leaving your recycled items loose.

 

If I can present my additional recycling in clear sacks, why cant I put the recycling in my bin in clear sacks?

Residents are encouraged to present additional recycling in clear plastic bags or preferably, as loose material, it is important to keep the material dry so it can be recycled so cardbaord should be contained in a clear bag if it does not fit in your recycling container.

Plastic bags, including biodegradable ones, cannot be recycled at the recycling plant. Recycling collected in plastic bags makes sorting the material much harder; there is no machinery at the sorting plant to split the bags and the bags need to be opened and emptied by hand ,which is a health and safety hazard for the staff.

Leaving recycled waste, washed, squashed and loose in your bin may reduce the need to present additional recycling in clear plastic bags. By leaving recycling loose, all items are easily identified as recyclable.

 

What do I do with my material that you class as contaminated?

Please remove the contaminated item(s), place in your residual bin and re-present your recycling container on your next recycling collection round.