Are the items really recycled?

Yes! That’s why we are so clear on what is recyclable and what is not, by minimising the contaminants in our recycling we are able to guarantee to our buyers that they can reuse them. This means that it will not end up in landfill/incinerators further down the supply chain. We even know the individual mills where our materials end up!


What happens to my recycling after it is collected from my bin?

All household recycling in Norfolk is sent to the recycling sorting facility, known as the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), in Costessey, to be sorted.

There is a 360° video on our website of what happens to your recycling once it arrives at the MRF.

Once the recycling has been sorted, it is then baled up and sent out to different reprocessing facilities.


How much of our recycling is sent abroad and how much stays in the UK?

Currently 90% of recycling from household bins in Norfolk is sent to reprocessing plants in the UK and 10% is sent abroad.


Which materials does Norfolk send abroad for recycling?

Cardboard is currently being sent to reprocessing plants in other countries. Currently there are no recycling facilities in the UK with enough capacity to deal with the amount of cardboard we throw away. Also, lots of the cardboard we use comes from other countries originally in the form of packaging for products we buy from abroad.

Although most aluminium cans are recycled in the UK, there is a need to send some to Germany when demand dictates.

Occasionally there is a need to send mixed paper to paper mills in India and Malaysia.

The process of sending abroad is done through a broker, which provides the MRF with legal, fully transparent documentation that ensures its end destination and that it is going to a compliant and suitably licensed facility for recycling.


Where do plastics from household recycling bins in Norfolk go?

Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays are sorted at the recycling sorting facility and separated into different types of the material. Plastics including milk and drink bottles are sent on to Lancashire and mixed pots, tubs and trays are sent to Viridor at Rochester in Kent.

After this, where any plastic is sent abroad by Viridor, the company only works with EA- accredited and licensed facilities. Viridor has a ‘robust system of traceability with regard to its supply chain, and receive accreditation from the companies it works with, demonstrating reprocessing (recycling) has taken place’.


How much of the plastics collected in my recycling bin, is actually recycled?

At the moment 97.4% of plastics collected are sent on to be recycled, and plastic forms about 8% of the weight of input material. There is some loss in the process and some of this is due to plastics being dirty (still containing food/drink). Please make sure your recycling is clean, dry and not in plastic bags when it goes into your bin at home.


Why can I not put my recycling in plastic bags?

As the workers at the recycling sorting facility cannot see what is inside the bags, it is too much of a health and safety risk for them to open in order to sort the contents.

We are not able to send plastic bags for recycling as there are no viable markets for them. Please reuse the bags or take them back to your local supermarket to be recycled. There is no easy way of removing recycling from plastic bags at the MRF, so any recycling that is not loose will be taken out of the sorting system and will not be recycled.


Is there any demand for recycled plastics?

Yes, there is plenty of demand for recycled plastics (especially milk bottles and drinks bottles) and new reprocessing facilities for plastic are being built in the UK.


Do you pay to have materials recycled or are you paid for the materials?

This depends on the material, the quality of those materials and what the markets are like. There is an absence of price stability in the recycling industry and this means sometimes we pay to have materials recycled and at other times we are paid for those materials.

Making sure things are clean and dry before they are placed in your bin increases the chances of them being recycled.


Map of where items are recycled: