What happens to rubbish and recycling

What happens to your rubbish?

All the rubbish from your grey lidded bin currently goes to the landfill site at Easter Langlee near Galashiels, which means it is simply buried in the ground. This process involves a substantial cost to both the taxpayer and to us and it also pollutes the environment in several ways:

  • Landfill produces methane gas which is a greenhouse gas.
  • Materials that are sent to landfill that could be reused, repaired or recycled is a waste of natural resources.

Reducing waste to landfill

  • You can help to reduce costs and pollution by recycling.

We may be fined if we do not meet recycling and landfill diversion targets set by the Scottish Government.

What happens to your recycling?

Recycling collected at the kerbside goes to our reprocessor, J&B Recycling in Hartlepool. J&B operate a materials recycling facility (MRF) which handles the separation and sorting of all the different materials (paper, plastics, card and cans).

At J&B Recycling the materials are separated automatically into individual streams (paper, food and drinks cans etc). Automated techniques include the use of:

  • air sifter - for dust and dirt removal
  • ballistic separator - uses vibrations to separate flat material such as paper, from items like plastic bottles that can roll
  • magnets - removes magnetic material from the process (e.g. steel cans)
  • eddy current separator - for aluminium removal
  • optical sorter - puffs of air used to separate plastic from non-plastic items.

The segregated recycling materials are then manually checked for quality and then baled. Baling makes them easier to handle and transport to the appropriate reprocessor for recycling.

The MRF separates materials into very precise waste streams producing recyclable materials of a higher quality which have a higher market value. The majority of our materials continue to be processed within the UK with a small amount being sent for recycling abroad. There is no stockpiling of the materials: it is all finding an end market and being recycled.