Whether collecting from a single household or a large business, we believe you should know where your materials end up…
We fill a large 40ft articulated truck of your food waste every day in our depot. This is sent to the new Biogen plant in Aberdare, where it is being turned into both electricity and fertilizer.
Biogen put your food in a huge sealed, oxygen-free tank and keep it at very precise temperatures. With no oxygen the food creates methane gas, which is collected and used as the fuel to run their electricity generation plant.
What’s left over is a nutrient-rich biofertiliser, which is then pasteurised (to kill any pathogens) and stored in large covered tanks. This is put on farmland instead of chemical fertilizers.
Every tonne of food waste recycled by anaerobic digestion in Newport prevents between 0.5 and 1.0 tonne of CO2 entering the atmosphere. Last year we collected more than 4,000 tonnes of food waste in the city.
Your paper goes to UPM Kymenne paper mill in North Wales.
At the mill it is pulped and all the contaminants removed. Unwanted materials such as pins, staples and paperclips have to be extracted before the paper can be recycled. Three skip loads of paperclips are separated each week from the Mill!
The pulp is then filtered and screened to remove ink. It is then pressed to remove water and processed to produce the final paper.
Depending on the quality of paper required some virgin material may be added. However, most newsprint is made entirely from recycled paper.
On average it takes just 14 days to complete the paper recycling circle. The paper mill produces the clean paper that is sent in large rolls to the newspaper industry. Here it his printed, cut and collated before being delivered to newsagents. You buy the paper, read it and then throw it into your blue box. We collect your blue box and the cycle start again.
There are many different kinds of plastic that have different properties and melt at different temperatures etc. We cannot recycle plastic bags or plastic film because we have nobody available to buy the material. If we send recycling companies bales with plastic bags (also known as plastic film) in them we get a lower price for the materials. Plastic bags clog up the reprocessing process so we separate as much as possible before compacting them into bales.
The recycling factory in England then puts the plastic through a series of mechanical grinders and hot washes, removing paper, metals and other contaminants. It is then separated into the different kinds of plastic and ground down into smaller pieces. These pieces are then re-formed into plastic chips, flakes or fibres.
The plastic we collect from you is made into a huge variety of products, from sports clothing to garden furniture.
Plastic takes up an ever-increasing amount of space on our trucks as it’s so light and people are using it more and more. It’s also the material most likely to create litter problem so please try and rest your blue box on top of your green box when you put your recycling out.
Your cans, tins, aerosols and foil are sorted into either aluminium or steel. This is done in our depot by putting all the metal onto a moving conveyor belt that passes underneath a very strong magnet. This magnet grabs the steel cans that are diverted into a cage. The conveyor belt then continues to an Eddy Current Separator that positively sorts aluminium and lets other materials that have accidentally got this far fall to another cage.
The Eddy Current Separator uses a rotor with magnetic blocks to “throw” aluminium from the conveyor belt into a baler. This machine also separates the steel cans and tins from the foil which is also baled separately. The main contaminating material at this stage is plastic, which is also baled.
Small Electrical Items
Your small electrical items are taken to Sims Metals here in Newport. Here they are crushed so that the separate materials (mainly plastic and metal) can be separated. Simms then sends these materials of for recycling.
Your glass goes to Recresco in Cwmbran where it is made into glass fibre for insulation. The glass is heated to more than 1,400 degrees C and then forced, at high pressure, through very small holes. As the tiny strands of glass come out they are sprayed with water and other chemicals that help the strands stick together.
Your old clothes, curtains and shoes are sorted and re-usable items taken to the Wastesavers Reuse Centre. What cant be sold is collected by various textiles reprocessors who undertake further sorting for reuse. If clothes can’t be reused they are sold as rags and used to make carpet underlay and insulation.