Where does my recycling go once you collect it from the kerbside?

The recycling is taken to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) run by a private sector partner for sorting. Recyclables are separated by type and bulked ready for reprocessing. Following this first sorting stage, the bulked materials are then sold on by the reprocessor. The specific material, quality and wider market conditions at the time, dictate where the material is sold on to. The reprocessors we use make best endeavours to find a UK market for all materials. However, sometimes there is no viable option to have the material reprocessed in the UK.

Why don't we recycle it all in this country? What materials go where?

A significant proportion of recycling from households such as separately collected newspapers and magazines, steel and aluminium cans and textiles are sent to reprocessors here in the UK.

Whilst best endeavours are made to find a UK market, sometimes the demand for a material just does not exist in the UK. Furthermore, current UK markets do not have sufficient capacity to be able to absorb all of the dry recyclables the UK collects.
This means it is necessary to all allow our private sector partners, subject to regulatory compliance, the freedom to trade dry recyclables on the international market in order to achieve the best income streams and/or lowest costs for tax payers.

How much does it cost to recycle? Is it cheaper to just dispose of everything?

Disposal of non-recyclable waste is more expensive than recycling our waste. Fluctuating markets determine whether we receive an income for our recyclables or pay to recycle them. When an income is received it helps to offset a proportion of the cost of running the collection services.

What regulations are put in place to ensure compliance? How do we know our recycling isn't being sent abroad and dumped somewhere?

Rigorous processes and procedures are undertaken for the handling and loading of materials for export if a suitable facility is not available in the UK. All exports must be in compliance with The Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations set out by the Government. This process is fully auditable by HMRC and the Environment Agency. Our private sector partners have all been audited by the Environment Agency and passed the inspection.

In terms of the facilities which recyclables are sent to abroad, our private sector partners ensure that all materials are sent to a suitably licensed facility. They also ensure any facility is suitably permitted to accept and appropriately manage the particular material in question. They deal with only reputable brokers that have been approved by government bodies. In instances where large volumes of recycling is contracted, the broker visits the facility and carries out a full audit. The findings including the plant processes from start to finish are presented back to the reprocessor who sent out the bulked material.

Where does my domestic waste go once you collect it from the kerbside?

Non-recyclable waste collected from households in Coventry goes to the Coventry & Solihull Waste Disposal Company (CSWDC) hub. The CSWDC is an independent waste management company whose main business is extracting energy (heat and electrical power) from municipal and commercial solid waste. The use of such facilities allows both energy to be recovered from residual waste, which contributes towards Coventry's power needs and minimises the use of landfill.

Read more information about CSWDC and how it extracts energy.

Why is knowing what to recycle so confusing? I'm struggling to know whether I can recycle something, who can I ask for help?

Recycling collected at the kerbside is generally household packaging materials, including plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, paper, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, tins and cans and foil.

If you're unsure if something can be recycled leave it out of your recycling. Alternatively, check what should go in which bin or check Coventry Recycling Club.

Why do my friends and family that live in other boroughs recycle differently from me?

Councils can determine their own recycling collection schemes and what they collect from your kerbside. Considerations for collection schemes may include the makeup and layout of properties and the extent of the collection area they need to cover. The recyclables collected will usually be determined by contracts in place for reprocessing.