Where does my recycling go once you collect it from the kerbside?
The district or borough you live in affects exactly where your recycling is taken, but the majority go to a facility in St Albans.
Following this first sorting stage, the bulked materials are then sold on. The specific material, quality and wider market conditions at the time, dictate where the material is sold on to. We try to find a UK market for all materials, however, sometimes there isn't demand in the UK.
A significant amount of household recycling (including separately collected newspapers and magazines, steel and aluminium cans, textiles, garden waste and food waste) are processed at recycling plants in the UK, including a number of facilities in Hertfordshire.
Read more in the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership Annual report 2017/18.
The cost of recycling
Disposing of non-recyclable waste is more expensive than recycling. Changing markets determine whether we get money for our recyclables or whether we have to pay to recycle them. Any income goes towards the cost of running the collection services.
Watch compaction in action
Transporting materials to be recycled
Typically, transporting materials to be recycled only accounts for a small percentage of the overall waste emissions. Unfortunately, there isn’t the capacity in the UK to reprocess all of our recyclables without sending some of it abroad.
When a suitable facility is not available in the UK, all exports must comply with the government's Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations. Our private sector partners have all been audited by the Environment Agency and passed the inspection. Our private sector partners ensure that all materials are sent to a suitably licensed facilities abroad. They also ensure any facility is suitably permitted to accept and appropriately manage the relevant material.
Where does general waste go once you collect it from the kerbside?
Non-recyclable waste collected from households in Hertfordshire is delivered either directly to landfill sites or taken to a waste transfer station near Watford. From there, residual waste is largely directed to a number of energy from waste facilities in neighbouring counties and London. The use of such facilities allows energy to be recovered from residual waste, which contributes towards the UK’s power needs and minimises the use of landfill.
Read more in the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership Annual report 2018-19.