Where does your recycling go?
Once we have collected your waste, we handle it in the most environmentally friendly way possible. We try to ensure that our collected items are composted, recycled or re-used wherever possible.
The next best option is to ‘recover energy’. For example, we use waste to make fuel to replace fossil fuels. The least favourable option is to send waste to landfill. Swindon is a leader in minimising landfill.
Most of Swindon’s waste is passed on to other companies to treat, or it is processed in our locally-based Waste to Fuel or Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) plant.
We send the recycling we collect to various different companies called “reprocessors”. Some materials generate an income for us to offset disposal costs. Other materials, such as plastics, cost money to send for processing.
The list below shows where we sent your recyclable waste in 2019:
- Cardboard - Recycled by DS Smith at Kemsley Paper Mill in Kent, UK and/or in India
- Paper - Recycled by DS Smith at Kemsley Paper Mill in Kent, UK and/or Eska Graphic Board B.V in the Netherlands
- Steel cans - Recycled by Sims in Neath, South Wales
- Mixed glass - Recycled by URM (Berryman’s) in Knottingley, Yorkshire, UK or Recresco Ltd in Cwmbran, South Wales
- Plastics - Kerbside plastic is currently taken to Turkey for recycling/reprocessing
A note about plastics
Recent national media interest has highlighted the issues we face at home and throughout the world with plastic waste. Swindon currently collects mixed plastics, but there is a limited market in the UK for plastics recycling. This means we currently send plastics to Turkey for processing.
China was the leading market for recyclable plastic but they stopped all imports in January 2018 due to the poor quality of materials being sent. This has had a huge impact, making it more difficult and expensive for local authorities to send plastic materials for recycling. Our plastic is currently (2018/19) sent via Thamesdown Recycling in Cricklade, where it is then exported for processing.
We are constantly reviewing the best environmental, economic and logistical option for all of Swindon’s collected materials and we may change how we collect and manage plastics and other materials in the future.
Black wheelie bin/blue bag collection
In Swindon, we have one of the few Waste to Fuel or Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) plants in the country. This takes non-recyclable household waste and turns it into solid fuel which is then used to create power. You can find out more about how our SRF plant works on the SRF webpage.