What happens to my recycling?
Have you ever wondered what happens to the items you recycle using the Kerbside Recycling service, Recycling Points and Recycling Centres? Find out below. Please be aware that although we have listed the contracts used at present, reprocessing contracts can vary and there may be a short delay in updating this page following any changes.
Paper and cardboard
Paper and cardboard are transported and reprocessed in Croy in North Lanarkshire by Saica Natur or in Shotton in north east Wales by UPM Shotton Paper Mill. The paper and cardboard are made into newsprint, tissue and board.
Baled plastic bottles are taken to Hemswell in Lincolnshire by Evolve Polymers. The different types of plastic bottles are sorted using optical sorters. Approximately 70% of plastic bottles collected can be reprocessed and used as flakes to produce fleece jackets, pipes, packaging and toys. At the moment the plastic re-processor can only recycle plastic bottles and not any other types of plastic packaging (e.g. yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, plastic film and bags). This is the reason that Aberdeen City Council collects only plastic bottles through the Kerbside Recycling service.
The colour-separated glass (brown, green and clear glass) is sent to OI Recycling (previously known as the British Glass Recycling Company) in Alloa, Clackmannanshire. It is crushed, cleaned and made into new bottles and jars.
Food and drink cans and aerosols
Steel and aluminium cans are magnetically separated and reprocessed by different companies depending on the best price available on the market. Normally steel and aluminium are reprocessed and used to produce new cans or other products such as electrical items, aeroplane or bus components.
TetraPak (cardboard food and drink cartons)
Tetra Pak ACE UK collect beverage cartons from many supermarket around Aberdeen. After the cartons are taken to a sorting or bulking facility, they are sent to a plant in Stainland, West Yorkshire, for reprocessing. As beverage cartons are typically composed of 75% paperboard made from wood fibre it is possible to reprocess a large amount of fibre and recycle this into coreboard. The 21% of plastic and 4% of aluminium foil in the cartons can also be recycled and reprocessed into composite materials (e.g. stationery).
Food and garden waste
Food and garden waste is transported to New Deer in Aberdeenshire and processed by Keenan Recycling. The material is stored and processed in order to produce BSI accredited compost products which are used as fertiliser and soil. These are available for residents to purchase at New Deer.
Electrical appliances (fridges, TV, PC, vacuums, irons etc.) collected at Recycling Centres across Aberdeen are transported to Perth to be reprocessed by Viridor. The appliances are manually sorted. Hazardous components are removed by hand and, using technology, all the different types of useful components (plastics, wire circuitry, metals and foam) are sorted. High quality materials can be sold for manufacturing into new products.
All batteries (both household and car batteries) are collected, sorted and processed prior to onward transport to recycling facilities by G&P Batteries in Darlston in the West Midlands. The recycling includes recovery of the heavy metals and other elements with some returned to use in the battery manufacturing process.
Most mobile phone stores and supermarkets offer a recycling collection service for unwanted mobile phones. There are numerous charitable organisations which accept mobile phones including Oxfam shops, Greensource Solutions and Fonebank. You can also recycle your mobile phone at any of the Recycling Centres in Aberdeen.
Cooking oil collected at the Recycling Centres is taken to Olleco's central Scotland depot and from there goes to one of the company's processing sites. Once there, the oil is de-packed, heated, cleaned and filtered and then sent to Olleco's biodiesel plant in Liverpool for recycling.
Books placed in the book banks at several Recycling Points around Aberdeen will be reused (re-sold in charity shops) or recycled into paper products.
The Salvation Army, New Hope Trust, British Heart Foundation, Somebody Cares and Cash For Kids provide collection banks at several Recycling Points around the city. The materials collected are sorted into grades and used locally where possible, or failing that, nationally and internationally. All textiles put into the textile banks are reused or recycled in some way.
Wood is collected from Recycling Centres and transported to the Binn Group in Perthshire who then process the material into various grades prior to shredding. The high grade material is sent for recycling within the board manufacturing process. The lower grade material (i.e. wood that has been treated with varnish or paint) is sent for energy recovery via biomass plants. Due to market fluctuations the end users vary from time to time however most of the facilities used are based in Scotland.
Back to the Household Waste and Recycling home page.