You’re working hard recycling all those items but what happens to them once we’ve picked them up? Well, they all go to EnviroSort at Norton, near Worcester, which is operated by Severn Waste Services. Here, your recyclable material is sorted, baled and sent to UK based companies who process them further or reprocess them to make a new product. Here is what happens with each material (information was first published in September 2021).

Food and drink cans

Cans which have been sorted by machinery at EnviroSort, are sent to several different companies within the UK including Clearpoint Recycling Ltd and Alutrade Ltd who are metal brokers. Alutrade Ltd also recycle aluminium cans at their Oldbury site. Recycled steel is used in anything from new cars to bridges and of course new drinks cans. Aluminium cans, as well as being reprocessed into new cans, could also end up in cars and aeroplanes amongst other things.

Mixed glass bottles and jars

Glass is broken up into something called cullet and sent to URM UK Ltd in Tilbury. This company is the largest purchaser and recycler of glass. It is used to produce new glass bottles and aggregates for road construction.

Plastic bottles and containers

The sorted plastics, sorted by machinery at EnviroSort, are baled and sent to either Redland (a broker that buys and sells plastics), PMK Ltd or Monoworld Recycling.

Redland sell on to Clear Tec and both they, PMK and Monoworld, reprocess the plastic further.

Following three separate stages, the plastics are turned into pellets or flakes ready to be used again in the manufacture of new plastic products. Recycled plastic is used in numerous products from garden furniture to pipes and even clothing.

Paper

Paper, cardboard and cartons, sorted at EnviroSort, are sent to either Clearpoint Recycling, Recycling UK, Eurokey Recycling, Edwards Recycling or PMK. These companies source paper, cardboard and cartons to supply the paper mills. Recycled paper has many uses such as newspapers, books and boxes for board games.

All this from your recycling. Thank you for making a difference

Why can’t we recycle black plastic?

Black plastic is often used by companies because it allows colours or imperfections to be masked. Unfortunately, that then means it becomes invisible to sorting machinery widely used in the UK to sort plastics, including here in Worcestershire. Plastics are sorted by a machine called an optical sorter. This system uses lights and sensors housed above the conveyor belt to constantly monitor the flow of plastics passing underneath. The sensor compares the light reflected off the plastic item to data it holds to identify the type of plastic, before ejecting it off the belt with compressed air. Black plastic absorbs the light instead of reflecting it back, so the object isn’t recognised. Try to avoid buying products containing black plastic if you can.