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What happens to recycling

It is essential that we all recycle as much as we can, and to avoid the cost of rejected loads, follow the guidelines of what can and cannot be recycled. Our good recycling saves resources thus reduces our impact on the environment, Furthermore, as a council we can save money that could be better spent in other areas. We currently divert 86.66% of waste from landfill.

Check our reminder of what should and should not go in our kerbside recycling bin.

If we reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by just 5% in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area, we would save nearly £200,000. 

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s household recycling, reuse and composting rate was 51.3% in 2020/21 and since 2017 we have exceeded the government’s target of 50% by 2020. We currently divert 86.76% of waste from landfill.

Where it goes

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After the recycling bins are emptied at the kerbside, the recycling is tipped at the Nuffield transfer station in Poole. Throughout the week the recycling is then loaded onto articulated lorries so it can be transported to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Here, the recyclable waste is sorted into the separate material streams (e.g., paper, plastics, metals and glass) by a series of conveyer belts, light sensors and other specialised technical equipment as well as some hand sorting. Once the material is baled it is sent to reprocessors who recycle it into new products.

Our contract to sort and process recycling is with Viridor Waste Management, and they only work with Environment Agency accredited and licensed facilities.

Where recycling goes and what happens to it

MaterialWhere it goesWhat happens to it
Glass bottles and jars  UK  Used to make glass bottles and jars or as a replacement for sand in construction 
Aluminium and steel cans UK and EU Recycled into cans and food packaging or used in engineering, architecture and the manufacture of car parts 
Paper UK, EU, China, India and South East Asia Used for paper and packaging 
Cardboard  UK, EU, China, India and South East Asia  Recycled into cardboard and packaging 
Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays UK and EU Used in the production of plastic bottles or food packaging, clothing, toys and garden furniture
Juice and milk cartons  India 

The 3 main materials are separated:

• Paper is used for food packaging 
• Plastic for garden furniture 
• Aluminium for building material

How much is recycled

In 2021/22, over 86.6% of all material placed into recycling bins was recycled. The remainder was items that could not be recycled such as nappies, food waste and polystyrene. The waste that could not be recycled was sent to an energy from waste facility (6.7%) or landfill (0.8%).