Every year we create 430 million tonnes of plastic waste across the world. It’s one of the most used materials for packaging as well as for creating furniture, casings for electronic devices, vehicle parts, and even clothing. Look around and it won’t take you long to spot something containing plastic.

There are many benefits of plastic. It’s cheap to produce, lightweight, can be moulded into many shapes, and doesn’t corrode or conduct heat or electricity. However, there are problems when any plastic product reaches the end of its life. Some plastics are recyclable, but many types aren’t and seriously damage the environment.

Understanding the importance of recycling plastic from your business or household and the reasons for cutting down on its use is essential. Here we explain why plastic is bad, which types you can and can’t recycle, and how to dispose of it responsibly to help inform your future plastic choices.

plastic bottles washed up on a beach.

Why are plastics bad 
for the environment?

Plastic is bad for the environment as it can take anywhere from 20 to 1,000 years to biodegrade – and some types don’t fully break down. When old plastics are discarded irresponsibly and end up in the environment or landfill and start to decompose they release toxins. These can damage nearby soil, water, and wildlife.

There are many bad things about plastic from the start to the end of their lives. Most are made using chemicals that come from fossil fuels such as gas, coal, and oil. Fossil fuels are the largest contributors to global warming and are responsible for 75% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

Then there are all the environmental problems of plastic waste. These are some of the main reasons why plastic is bad for the environment:

  • Plastic takes hundreds and thousands of years to decompose so is present in our environment for a long time
  • Any plastic types that break down in the environment release toxins due to the chemicals they contain, which can contaminate groundwater, soil, and air
  • These toxins may enter water sources and cause harmful health effects for humans and wildlife that drink from them
  • Problems with littering plastic mean animals can get tangled up in wrappers, choke on bits of plastic waste, ingest it and die
  • Incinerating plastic waste prevents it from rotting in landfill, yet it still releases toxic emissions and adds to air pollution
  • Reusing, recycling, and recovering plastic is better for the environment but this requires high amounts of energy that can have a negative environmental impact

Is all plastic recyclable?

Not all plastic is recyclable. The Resin Identification Code (RIC) is the number in a triangle on any plastic product that identifies its type. Generally, the lower the number the higher the chance it is recyclable. For example, RIC 1 is for polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which covers many plastic drinks bottles and cups that are commonly recycled.

RIC 6 is for polystyrene (PS), which isn’t recycled as often or easily. Some plastics aren’t recycled as it’s currently too expensive or ineffective to do so. Thin plastic film, wrapping, and some bags can cause plastic recycling machinery to jam as they can clog the equipment.

The process of recycling certain plastics is also not economically viable for recycling plants and the recycled materials may be too weak to be of any use. However, improvements are being made to try and recycle thin plastic bags and wrappers separately, away from solid plastics like those for drinks bottles.

crab walking on a beach with plastic bag on it.

Which plastic cannot be recycled?

The way plastics are made affects whether they’re recyclable or not. Thermoset plastics contain polymers that form irreversible chemical bonds, which means they can’t be recycled. Normally plastics with a higher RIC are less likely to be recyclable than the likes of PET and HDPE plastics.

Technically, most plastics are recyclable but in reality, there are various types that aren’t recycled. This is due to a lack of infrastructure or economic viability to recycle certain kinds. Domestic plastic recycling also varies across the UK. If you want to recycle plastic at home then check with your local council or authority what types they accept.

Generally, these are some common types of plastic that cannot be recycled yet:

  • Black plastic
  • Plastic-coated wrapping paper
  • Blended foil and plastic wrappers (like crisp packets)
  • Cling film and thin plastic film
  • Plastic blister packages
  • Composite plastics
sheet of plastic film.

What plastics can you recycle?

Most plastics are recyclable, but you should check with your local council or waste collection company first. It’s important that the plastics are clean and dry before being placed in a recycling bin. This removes any contaminants to improve the chance of the materials being recycled.

These are common plastic types you can and should recycle at home or work:

  • Plastic drinks bottles (often PET)
  • Plastic milk, shampoo, and cleaning product bottles (often HDPE)
  • Margarine tubs, yoghurt pots, and plastic food trays (often PP)
  • Some plastic bags (often LDPE)
  • Bubble wrap, polystyrene, bread bags (miscellaneous plastics)

Can you recycle hard plastic?

Hard plastics such as children’s toys, furniture, and plant pots can be recycled but you can’t normally put them in your household recycling bin. Whether such hard plastics are recyclable depends on any other materials they contain, the type of plastic they’re made from, and the recycling facilities.

For example, a plastic toy that contains electronic elements is harder to recycle than a solid hard plastic chair. This is because the electrical components, metal, and other materials must be separated before the plastic is processed. Check with your waste collector or at your local household waste recycling centre (HWRC) if they will recycle your hard plastic waste.

Some hard plastics can be recycled

Arrange plastic waste collection and recycling

Reducing plastic waste is the best way to avoid a negative environmental impact. However, as plastic is everywhere it’s almost impossible to do so. As a business you should use plastic waste bins to separate your waste plastic at the source and ensure as much as possible is recycled.

At Divert we provide free plastic waste bins to businesses across Yorkshire, you only pay for collection. All waste plastics are diverted away from landfill and recycled, recovered, and disposed of responsibly. Get a free quote for commercial plastic waste collection today – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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The summer months are meant to be enjoyed outside. It’s prime time for BBQs, sunbathing in the garden, and getting plenty of vitamin D before another dreary autumn arrives. However, more sunshine and warmer weather aren’t ideal for those plastic wheelie bins full of rubbish outside your home or business.

Higher humidity encourages bacterial growth that attracts pests, creates a nasty smell, and the sun can damage the actual bin. This ruins any BBQ, garden party, or chance to relax outside. Looking after your bins with a few simple actions helps you make the most out of the summer season.

Use these tips to stop your bin from smelling, prevent attracting pests, and protect your bins at home or work in the summer.

wheelie bin lids in summer sunshine.

Check for cracks

Regularly inspect your bins more over summer as sun damage can cause cracks and splits to develop. UV rays from the sun have high-energy photons that may break polymer bonds that make up the plastic material of most wheelie bins. More sunshine means most bins are exposed to more UV rays, which increases the risk of cracks developing.

Cracks and splits can grow quickly and mean waste spills out and any bad smells become even more prominent. It also creates an opening for rainwater and pests to get in, which can cause further problems. Bacteria and germs thrive in such warm crevices, which is less than ideal.

If you spot any cracks or splits you should stop using the bin and ask your local council or waste collection service for a replacement. Alternatively, you could try to repair any small cracks with a plastic welding gun or fibreglass repair strip. Only do this if you’re confident though – you don’t want to make it worse.

How to stop your bin 
smelling in summer

Warm bins are a hotbed of horrid smells in summer. Organic waste like food scraps decompose faster when it’s hot, which releases nasty odours. Even if your bins are stored away from your garden or any outside seating at your workplace, the stench can spread, especially if it’s windy.

Follow these simple steps for ideas of how to stop your bin smelling in summer:

  • Clean your bins – after your bins are emptied wash the inside out with water and some anti-bacterial solution and then rinse. This should get rid of bacteria and stop it from growing while also removing any foul smells.
  • Wash out recycling – used food and drink packaging like yoghurt pots, crisp packets, and margarine tubs can contain remnants of food that rot quickly in warm weather. Carefully clean out all recycling before putting it in your bin to remove contaminants and the chance of a bad smell developing fast.
  • Double bag any food waste – ideally you would compost any food waste where possible rather than throwing it out with general waste to avoid it going to landfill. Not everyone has a garden or compost bin though. When getting rid of food scraps in summer it’s best to double bag it to avoid decomposing food to fall out of split bags and release a foul odour.
  • Fill your bins at the best time – try to time it so you empty waste from any indoor bins into your bins outside as close to the collection day as possible. This avoids waste sitting in a hot bin outside for days and a bad smell developing.
  • Deodorise the bins – you can use a bin deodoriser or sprinkle bicarbonate of soda in the bottom of a dry bin to reduce the chance of a bad smell occurring. Laying down cardboard may also reduce the risk of your bin smelling in summer.
wheelie bins on a sunny street in summer.

Position your bins strategically in summer

Move your bins away from direct sunlight if possible. The UV rays can damage plastic bins over time while direct sunshine also causes the bin and its contents to warm up, adding to any bad smells developing. Put them in a shady spot alongside your house, near a shed, or behind a big tree.

If you can’t avoid direct sunlight completely, try to position them somewhere that gets less sun or only in the early morning when it should be cooler. Another option is to create some kind of shelter or shade by using a big old umbrella, tarpaulin, or sheets.

Secure your bins

The Great British weather can be unpredictable over summer – it’s not all sunshine and ice creams. After a sunny spell, there are normally a few thunderstorms and plenty of showers. It’s important you prepare for wind and secure your bins before they blow over and litter the street.

Putting wheelie bins in a dedicated unit is the best option as it should be sheltered from the rain, direct sunlight, and wind. These cost money though and not all homes and businesses have space for one. Instead, you can use a bit of bungee cord or a dedicated wheelie bin lock to secure them.

Prepare for bin collection schedule changes

Household bin collection times may be earlier during periods of extremely warm weather to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion. You should be informed by your local authority or council if they’re going to move your regular bin collections earlier. It’s best to put your bins out the night before to be safe and avoid missing a collection.

For any commercial bin collections, your provider should tell you about any changes due to summer weather. At Divert we can help with your commercial waste removal come rain or shine in Yorkshire and we divert all waste away from landfill. Get a free quote for commercial waste collections with free bins today (you only pay for collection) – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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All businesses in the UK must pay licensed waste carriers to remove rubbish from their site and dispose of it at an appropriate facility. The costs involved vary depending on the types and amount of waste, your location, how often waste is collected, and the waste collector you use.

Every good business plan includes a strategy for waste management that should budget for the costs of storage, collection, and disposal. If you’re just starting out or are reviewing your budget and operations then you might wonder if you’re paying too much for waste management. Prices increase like anything else but there are ways to lower your spending.

Cost-effective waste management is possible for any kind and size of business and at Divert we can help. Understand why your commercial waste collection costs could be higher than expected and explore some easy actions for more affordable waste management.

British 20 pound notes.

Why are my waste management costs high? 

There can be many potential reasons why your waste management costs may seem high. External factors such as rising prices of fuel and wages have an impact while internal factors like the bins and services you use affect costs. Knowing what you pay and why may help you identify the reasons why your waste management costs are more than expected.

These are some of the main reasons why you could be paying more (and even too much) for your waste collections:

  • Rising prices – the general cost of living crisis means prices of fuel, wages, supplies, energy, and more are all increasing. Inflation and interest rates also play their part. This impacts waste management as companies pay more for fuel, workers, and higher rates, which are often reflected in unavoidable price increases for customers.
  • HGV driver shortage – there are fewer HGV and lorry drivers in the UK for a few reasons. This includes the inability to conduct HGV tests during the Covid-19 pandemic, Visa difficulties after the UK left the EU, and many drivers retiring. It means there’s a smaller pool of drivers for waste collection companies and they must generally pay higher wages to attract drivers.
  • A lack of recycling – just using a general waste bin to throw away all rubbish from your business is expensive and bad for the environment. You’ll pay more in landfill tax for disposal if your waste goes to landfill compared to sending it for recycling.
  • Using bins that are too big – if you’re regularly half-filling your bins by the time they’re collected then you’ll pay for that empty space. Most waste collectors charge based on the size and volume of the bin and not the weight of its contents, so this could be a waste of money.
  • Overfilling bins – you’ll face extra charges if your bins breach the max fill line or max weight limit. These should be outlined in your contract and the fees may vary depending on the amount or type of waste, meaning you exceed your waste management budget.
  • Having too many waste collections – regular waste collections are important to keep your premises clean and tidy but if your bins are emptied before they’re full then you could be paying for too many collections.
  • Infrastructure investment – to improve waste management in the UK there’s ongoing investment in recycling infrastructure and energy recovery facilities. Funding these facilities costs money and it may be reflected in your waste removal costs.

How to reduce waste management costs

All sorts of factors can affect your waste management costs, some of which you can control. External things like rising wages and fuel prices can’t be helped but you can review your current waste management processes to find ways to save money. Using the best bins, waste collection company, and practices can ensure cost-effective commercial waste management.

Consider these actions to try and reduce your waste management costs:

  • Reduce your waste – the easiest way to cut back on your waste collection costs is to reduce the amount you create. Review the current waste types and volumes you produce and determine ways to reuse materials and minimise how much you generate. This could involve adapting processes, changing orders, and implementing policies.
  • Recycle more – arranging collection of waste for recycling from your business costs less than sending it to landfill or for incineration. Assess your waste production and determine where you can recycle more materials rather than throwing them all in one general waste bin. Glass, cardboard, paper, metal, and some plastics should all be recycled. Having more recycling bins can be more cost-effective than using one big general waste container.
  • Reduce collection frequencies – some things such as food waste should be removed regularly to keep your premises hygienic and prevent a foul odour from developing. However, for dry waste and recycling you could save money by storing it onsite for longer before booking collections. Switching to fortnightly rather than weekly collections helps ensure bins are full and reduces your waste collection costs.
  • Use bigger bins – for dry waste it’s more cost-effective to use fewer big bins rather than lots of small ones. These save space and you can combine using bigger containers with less frequent collections for a cost-effective solution.
  • Check weight and fill limits – avoid any overweight or excess waste charges by ensuring your rubbish is within any weight limits or max fill lines on the bins. If you’re often above or close to the limit then add an extra bin to your service or switch to larger containers, as it should be cheaper than regularly paying overweight charges.
  • Look for rebates – some recycling can be collected, and you may receive a rebate, so it’s worth asking your waste collector about this.
  • Use a reliable local waste collectorget a free quote from Divert tailored to your exact needs so you can see how much you’ll save and pay for waste collection. Using a local firm ensures less transport costs and affordable prices.

Save money on your commercial 
waste collections with Divert

Get a free quote for waste collection with Divert today – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online. One of our friendly experts can provide a bespoke price based on the type and volume of waste you need to be collected. They can advise on a cost-effective solution using the best bin types, sizes, and collection frequencies.

We provide commercial waste collections across Yorkshire. Save money and find out more about waste management in the following cities, towns, and surrounding regions:

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Walk down any city street and sadly it won’t be long before you spot a crisp packet blowing in the wind, a plastic bag stuck in a tree, or a crushed can on the pavement. The UK is literally littered with rubbish that’s unsightly. It also has a serious environmental and financial impact.

Local authorities in the UK spend around £700 million to clear up litter in public places every year. Most people use bins to get rid of their rubbish to keep it secure and ensure responsible disposal. Carelessness, laziness, and ignorance can all cause littering and lead to waste entering and harming the environment in many ways.

Litter adds to the waste in our waterways, contributes to pollution, and can harm wildlife and human health. Don’t be a litterbug – discover how litter affects the environment and what we can all do to prevent it and look after our planet properly.

litter bin in park surrounded by rubbish.

What is litter?

Litter is small bits of rubbish dropped on the ground in public places. This includes waste left lying on the street, footpaths, in parks, and on beaches. Littering is the action of leaving little bits of rubbish in public. Most kinds of litter are associated with smoking, eating, and drinking – anything larger could be considered fly-tipping.

Some of the most common types of litter are:

  • Plastic drink bottles
  • Metal drink cans
  • Cigarette butts
  • Crisp packets
  • Takeaway and fast food boxes
  • Plastic bags

Is littering illegal?

Littering is a criminal offence in England and Wales under Section 87(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. It’s a type of low-level crime and most penalties are an on-the-spot fine with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). Refusal or failure to pay the FPN could lead to court proceedings and a higher fine.

Fly-tipping is a more serious crime under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This is the illegal disposal of waste somewhere not licensed to accept it, such as leaving an old fridge in a public park. Potential penalties including a conviction in a magistrates’ court could lead to larger fines and jail time.

What is fly-tipping?

Why is littering bad 
for the environment?

Leaving litter lying around damages the local environment in many ways. These small bits of rubbish soon add up and have a significant impact on the wider world. The weather means litter can blow or wash away into other places and affect our water, ground, air, and wildlife in negative ways.

Littering is bad for the environment as it can cause:

  • Pollution – litter released into the environment will start to degrade where it lands. This can release hazardous, toxic, and chemical elements as well as microplastics into the environment as it breaks down, depending on the material. It can pollute nearby water, ground, and air as the litter’s disposal isn’t properly managed and controlled.
  • Groundwater contamination – bits of litter can end up in rivers, streams, canals, and oceans that affect wildlife and drinking water sources. As litter decomposes any toxic and hazardous elements may leach into the groundwater and affect the drinking sources of humans and animals.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions – organic waste such as food scraps decompose and release methane into the atmosphere (rather than being recycled, composted, or recovered where the emissions are controlled and used to create energy). This pollutes the air and contributes to global warming and climate change.
  • Health hazards – rubbish in public places can attract pests that spread disease, such as rodents and insects. There’s also the risk of injury from people tripping over litter or cutting themselves on broken glass or metal tins and drink cans.
  • Wasted energy – after bagging up litter in parks, roadsides, and other public places it’s then transported separately to waste management facilities. This requires extra energy compared to putting rubbish in appropriate bins in the first place, which adds to carbon emissions.
  • Wildlife harm – parks are natural habitats for all sorts of wildlife and litter can make its way into streams, woods, and other places inhabited by all sorts of animals. Small bits of rubbish pose a choking hazard and can entangle animals causing all sorts of problems. Eating litter may also lead to digestion issues and possibly poisoning.
litter in a field.

How to prevent littering 
within your business

Businesses are responsible for waste management on their premises, which includes ensuring all rubbish is stored, removed, and disposed of properly. Littering can be an issue for companies if customers or staff drop rubbish and the wind carries it into public spaces and nearby waterways. For events and businesses with outdoor or exposed areas, it’s more of a risk.

To prevent littering within your business you must have the right types, sizes, and number of bins in place for employees and customers to use. Put up clear signs directing people towards the bins and explaining what materials can go in each one. This should reduce the risk of littering and increase recycling.

A waste management plan and policy are vital to ensure smooth storage, collection, and disposal of your commercial waste. Conduct a waste audit to assess what sizes and number of bins you’ll need and how often they should be collected to avoid overflowing bins. Train staff in the importance of waste management and litter prevention – including the financial and environmental impact.

bag of plastic litter from the sea.

Bin your litter with Divert

At Divert we can provide free bins for your business to store waste securely on site and prevent littering by your staff and customers. There are no delivery, rental fees, or hidden charges for the bins – you just pay for collection. Select from a wide range of bins, bags, and containers to suit your needs.

This includes bins for glass waste, cardboard recycling, food waste, general waste, and more. We divert all waste away from landfill and recycle as much as possible to benefit the environment and reduce your waste management costs. Get a free quote for waste collection today – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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Recycling in Leeds helps keep the largest city in Yorkshire as green as Roundhay Park, Woodhouse Moor, and Temple Newsham. However, in recent years household recycling rates in Leeds have fallen to around 35%. This is despite there being many options to recycle in Leeds for homes and businesses, which this guide covers.

The good news is the city now sends less than 3% of household waste to landfill – mainly thanks to the innovative recycling and energy recovery facility (RERF) that opened in late 2016. And sustainable initiatives are popping up all over, such as the Climate Innovation District and a range of zero-waste shops and cafes.

Discover everything you need to know about recycling in Leeds from your home or business with information about what, where, and how to avoid your domestic or commercial waste going to landfill. Recycle in Leeds the right way.

Leeds station and River Aire.

Household waste recycling in Leeds

Leeds City Council oversees household waste recycling across the city. This includes providing homes with a green recycling bin, and regularly collecting and recycling waste put in them. Leeds Council also operates eight household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the city and wider LS region (including in Otley and Wetherby).

Homes in certain areas of Leeds receive a brown bin for garden waste too, depending on your postcode. The council offers an unwanted household item collection service for bulky and other items not accepted in your green recycling bin. The service is currently free, but it is limited and due to high demand collections may not be available when you want.

At Divert we provide a range of household recycling services for homes anywhere in Leeds. This includes the removal and recycling of large items at a time that suits you with all waste diverted away from landfill. Get a free quote and find out more about each recycling service in Leeds:

What can you put in 
recycling bins in Leeds?

You can put various items in your green recycling bin as long as they’re clean and dry. These are the materials and examples of rubbish you can recycle in your green household bin in Leeds:

  • Aluminium (drink cans and food tins)
  • Aerosols (empty deodorant cans)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cardboard (cereal boxes, tissue boxes, and food packaging)
  • Carrier bags
  • Cartons (including Tetra Pak)
  • Foil (including food containers and takeaway trays)
  • Paper
  • Plastic bottles, tubs, and pots (water bottles, food tubs, and yoghurt pots)
  • Plastic types 1 (PET), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP)
  • Stretchy plastic bags and wrapping

You cannot recycle black plastic (including bags), brown plastic, glass, polystyrene, shredded paper, electrical items, wood, or garden waste in your green bin. Take these to your nearest HWRC or bottle bank to recycle responsibly.

How to recycle glass in Leeds

There are more than 700 glass bottle banks across Leeds. Clean and dry any used glass bottles and jars from your home and then drop them off at your local bottle bank. Many of these are in car parks of supermarkets, pubs, sports clubs, leisure centres, and other council-run car parks.

Recycling glass in Leeds is important as it’s infinitely recyclable and you cannot put it in your household green recycling bin. Any colour of glass bottle or jar is accepted at the bottle banks. You can also recycle glass waste at any HWRC in Leeds. Use this bottle bank map of Leeds to find your nearest one.

Glass waste from businesses in Leeds is a type of commercial waste, so must be removed by licensed waste carriers. Businesses can arrange glass waste collection in Leeds with Divert. We provide free glass bins with no delivery or rental fees – you just pay for collection – and all glass is recycled.

birds eye view of Leeds town hall.

When are Leeds recycling days?

Recycling bin collection days in Leeds vary depending on where you live. Some households receive fortnightly green bin collections while in other areas it can be monthly. Check your recycling day in Leeds online. Simply enter your postcode and select your address to see your upcoming green bin collection days and dates.

Leeds recycling centres

There are eight recycling centres in Leeds. Anyone who lives in Leeds can use them to dispose of household waste and you can visit in a car or on a bicycle. You must have a commercial vehicle permit to use any HWRC in Leeds in a van, a large vehicle, or if you have a trailer attached to your car.

Commercial recycling in Leeds is only accepted at the recycling centres in Kirkstall and Seacroft. These are the addresses for all Leeds recycling centres:

Other recycling options in Leeds

There are bring sites all over Leeds where you can recycle other materials from your home alongside glass. These include recycling banks for old clothing, paper (including newspapers and magazines), and small electrical items (such as old phones, laptops, tablets, toasters, kettles, and other small appliances and devices).

Bring sites are small recycling sites with one or more banks to recycle such domestic waste. They’re often located in pub, supermarket, and council car parks. They’re ideal for people who can’t drive to a HWRC and an easy way to recycle household waste that you can’t put in your green bin in Leeds.

Find your local bring site in Leeds

Roundhay Park in Leeds.

Business waste recycling in Leeds

Businesses in Leeds must arrange collections of all rubbish they produce by licensed waste carriers, including all recyclable materials. You should use a range of bins to separate recycling in your organisation. This benefits the environment and saves your company money, as you’ll pay less landfill tax as part of your disposal costs.

At Divert we can help businesses in Leeds working in any industry and of any size and age with your waste recycling. We provide free bins for recycling in Leeds such as glass, cardboard, plastic, and mixed recycling. Find out more about our business recycling services in Leeds:

Call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online today for a free quote for waste collection and recycling from your business in Leeds. Prices are tailored to your needs and there’s no obligation to proceed. One of our team can answer any questions and find a suitable solution for you.

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Landfill essentially works by digging a big hole, lining it with a plastic material, dumping waste into it, compacting everything, and covering it with soil. The idea is that the rubbish put in landfills will break down and decompose over time. It’s the second-most used waste treatment in the UK.

As landfill has been in use for many years, in lots of cases the waste is put on top of existing rubbish that’s decomposed or is still breaking down or in new cells. Every landfill site operates slightly differently but the Environment Agency (EA) regulates each one to ensure they run safely and legally.

A greater focus on recycling and recovering waste, as well as a finite amount of space, means the number of landfill sites in the UK is falling. However, lots of our rubbish still ends up in them. Understand how landfill works and the problems with it as a waste treatment option in this blog post.

landfill site with seagulls flying over.

Landfill waste statistics

For an idea of how much domestic and commercial waste makes its way to landfill check out these landfill waste statistics:

  • 10,000 tonnes of waste are sent to landfill sites every day across the world
  • There are around 600 landfill sites across the UK
  • Landfill is the second-most used waste treatment method in the UK (after recycling and recovery)
  • Almost one quarter (23.6%) of waste in the UK is disposed of at landfill sites
  • 8 million tonnes of waste are disposed of at landfill sites every year in the UK
  • This includes 8 million tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste

What is landfill?

Landfill is a waste disposal method that involves burying waste in large, excavated pits or piling it up directly on the ground. Often at a landfill site, an area is quarried in the ground, it’s filled with waste, and then covered. Sometimes waste is piled above ground that creates land around the site, known as land raising.

The idea of landfill is to create space for waste where it can decompose. There are different designs and ways of working across landfill sites, but they’re all regulated by waste management staff today. Other names for a landfill site include the tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump, trash dump, or dumping ground.

How does a landfill work? 

Landfill site designs vary but most follow a similar approach. Modern landfill sites are designed to separate the waste from the ground to reduce the risk of polluting the ground and nearby water. This is how a landfill works from start to end:

  • Excavation – a big hole is dug using industrial machinery on the landfill site to create a designated area for waste disposal. These specific areas within the landfill site are known as cells. They’re prepared, filled, completed, and restored over time.
  • Liners – clay or strong plastic are used to line the cell. This is to prevent waste and liquid (leachate) from escaping from the cell and landfill to pollute the surrounding soil and water.
  • Waste disposal – the waste is tipped at a designated ‘working face’ on the cell and into the hole. It’s spread out, layered, and then crushed down with a compactor. When all the waste is dumped for the day it’s covered with a layer of soil or inert material and left to break down.
  • Leachate collection – rainwater onto landfill and moisture within a cell can run through and create leachate – a polluting liquid waste. To prevent this polluting surrounding soil and water there’s a leachate collection system in place. Holes are drilled into the waste, lined with pipes, and a pump is fitted. This pumps excess leachate into a storage tank that’s taken off-site for safe disposal when full.
  • Gas control systems – methane and carbon dioxide are released that must be managed with a gas control system. Holes are drilled, lined with pipes, and connected to a gas pump. This gas is removed and may be burned to minimise its environmental impact or used to produce electricity. Gas levels are measured around every landfill site to identify changes quickly.
  • Landfill cap – a cap is placed on top of a landfill site when it’s full. Normally this is made from a thick layer of compacted clay that prevents rain from seeping through and bad smells emerging. Grass and trees may be planted on top. Even after a landfill site closes it must be regularly monitored to check on the leachate and gas levels.
machinery pushing rubbish on a landfill site.

What are the problems with 
burying waste in landfill sites?

The Environment Agency regulates UK landfill sites to ensure they operate safely, and modern designs aim to reduce the negative environmental impact of landfills. However, there are still many problems with burying waste in landfill sites that include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions – a lack of oxygen as waste breaks down in landfills produces greenhouse gases including methane and carbon dioxide. While this should be managed with gas systems, landfills still release such emissions. Methane is especially problematic as it’s 80 times more harmful than CO2 and traps more heat in the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
  • Leachate – again, there should be systems in place to manage leachate in landfills, but it can still escape. This toxic liquid can contaminate nearby lakes and rivers, which are drinking sources for wildlife. This can cause serious harm to animals and affect human health.
  • Toxins – medical, chemical, and electrical waste especially that ends up in landfill can release toxins as they break down. These can pollute surrounding ground, water, and air, harming human health and local ecosystems.
  • Foul smells – rotting waste and methane creates a pungent smell that’s incredibly unpleasant. This may affect those living nearby, especially on windy days, and any visitors to nearby attractions. In some cases, landfill sites make nearby land unusable due to the bad smells.
  • Limited space – there’s only a limited amount of space in the UK where we can dig big holes and bury waste, so alternative sustainable solutions need to be used where possible.

Divert your waste away from landfill

At Divert we understand the problems with landfill, which is why we divert all waste we collect away from landfill sites. Instead, we offer solutions to recover, recycle, and reuse rubbish where possible. It could be recycling glass from your pub to ensuring your broken fridge is recycled rather than dumped in a hole in the ground.

We provide a wide range of waste removal services for businesses and homes. Find a solution whether you need regular mixed recycling collections from your workplace or a one-off house clearance. Call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online today for a free quote for waste removal that’s diverted away from landfill.

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Fly-tipping is illegal rubbish dumping. Disposing of household, industrial, commercial or controlled waste on unlicensed land is fly-tipping. It’s a wide-ranging offence that includes everything from discarding an old mattress in a public park to dropping off tonnes of industrial waste at an unlicensed private site.

Dumping rubbish on public land or private property (even your own land) is fly-tipping if it doesn’t have a licence to accept it. This is different from littering, which is simply discarding small materials associated with eating, drinking, and smoking in the wrong place. Fly-tipping covers household and commercial waste.

Fly-tipping damages the environment and local ecosystems and is unsightly. Every year the UK government deals with more than one million incidents of fly-tipping that cost millions for councils (and therefore council taxpayers) to clear up. Discover all you need to know about fly-tipping so we can all work to eliminate it.

fly-tipping rubbish next to a field.

Why is it called fly-tipping?

The term fly-tipping is of British origin and simply means dumping any type of waste illegally on unlicensed premises. Two parts make up the phrase:

  • On the fly – doing something quickly without thinking too much about how it should be done.
  • To tip – to throw something out (often from a vehicle).

What is classed as fly-tipping?

Illegally disposing of household, business, or industrial waste of any type and amount in a location not licensed to accept it classes as fly-tipping. It could be solid or liquid waste and anything from one item like an old mattress to bags of rubbish. There’s a wide range of things that can class as fly-tipping.

Some common examples of fly-tipping include:

  • Putting bags of household waste next to a public litter bin
  • Leaving white goods and appliances out on the street
  • Dumping mattresses and furniture in a local park
  • Pouring industrial liquid waste into a stream or river
  • Spreading garden waste in public woods or green space
  • Burying household or commercial waste in your own garden

Why is fly-tipping bad?

Fly-tipping is an irresponsible way to manage any type and volume of waste. It’s harmful to the environment as the rubbish isn’t treated properly, recycled, or recovered. Depending on the materials, the waste may break down slowly and release hazardous and toxic elements that enter nearby soil and water.

Wildlife and domestic pets may encounter the dumped waste and try to eat it, which can cause choking, health issues, and death. If hazardous, clinical, infectious, and other dangerous waste types are discarded then it may also impact human health (especially children). Fly-tipping is a danger to anyone who comes across it.

Illegally dumping waste also ruins local areas as it’s unsightly, starts to smell, and may encourage others to fly-tip in the same spot. Cleaning up fly-tipping is also expensive and time-consuming for councils and local authorities. This is paid for by the taxpayers and the funds could be better used on other public services.

fly-tipped rubbish in waste bags on grass.

Is fly-tipping a criminal offence? 

Fly-tipping is a criminal offence in the UK. Criminal convictions for fly-tipping carry potential penalties including a fine and a possible jail sentence. Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 is the legislation that covers fly-tipping. It states that a waste offence occurs when:

“Depositing, knowingly causing or knowingly permitting the deposit of controlled waste or extractive waste on land without, or other than in accordance with, an environmental permit.”

How much is a fly-tipping fine?

Fly tipping fines vary in amount depending on where, when, and who they’re issued by and the circumstances of the offence. The maximum fine for anyone caught fly-tipping in the UK is £1,000 when issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN). Fines for fly-tipping on larger scales can result in more serious penalties.

Any cases that go to the magistrates’ court and lead to a conviction could lead to a potential jail sentence of up to 12 months and an unlimited fine. In the Crown Court, there’s a maximum penalty of a five-year jail sentence and an unlimited fine. The amount and type of waste dumped illegally, and other circumstances may affect the fine.

How to report fly-tipping

Report fly-tipping to your local council (or the authority that covers the location where you witnessed illegal waste dumping). Normally you can do this through their website. Reporting fly-tipping is important to hold those responsible to account, ensure the rubbish is cleaned up, and dissuade others from dumping waste illegally.

Use the UK government site for reporting fly-tipping. Simply enter your postcode to find the details of your local council’s website where you can report fly-tipping.

How to stop fly-tipping

Prevent fly-tipping from your business by arranging commercial waste collection with licensed waste carriers – such as Divert. This ensures your business waste is removed and disposed of safely, legally, and responsibly. Check the credentials of those who remove your rubbish and that you receive a duty of care certificate that confirms the disposal method.

Dispose of all domestic waste in your household bins, take it to your nearest household waste recycling centre (HWRC), or book a man and van removal. These options should ensure your waste is disposed of, recycled, and recovered through the proper channels and not dumped illegally.

Reporting fly-tipping can help prevent it in your area. Other people and businesses dumping waste on your premises illegally can be infuriating too. These are a few ways to stop fly-tipping on your property:

  • Secure the boundary – high fences and walls make it harder for people and vehicles to access your property to dump waste.
  • Install CCTV – capturing footage of any fly-tipping can help lead to a prosecution, which should reduce the risk of it reoccurring.
  • Display clear signs – putting up CCTV warning signs may make criminals think twice about fly-tipping if they think there’s a risk of being caught.
bags of waste dumped on the side of a street.

Is it illegal to put rubbish 
in someone else’s bin?

The legalities around putting rubbish in someone else’s bin aren’t clear. Technically, it could be considered fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour as you’re dumping waste somewhere that’s not licensed to accept it. Prosecutions for throwing a bag of refuse in your neighbour’s bin are unlikely though.

Should you place hazardous waste or lots of rubbish in their bin consistently it may lead to legal action. If you’ve got rubbish that won’t fit in your bin – such as bulky items or bags of garden waste – contact Divert for a free quote for waste collection to avoid fly-tipping. Call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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As the days start to get slightly longer and a little warmer, many of us emerge from winter hibernation reinvigorated. About now you might look around your home and think about sprucing it up as the dark days won’t hide the dust that’s built up over the past few months. It’s time for some spring cleaning.

An effective spring cleaning session can create bags and boxes of waste – from old clothes, to broken electricals and general junk you’ve been meaning to throw away for ages. Some of this is unavoidable but there are ways to reduce it and what you do with any rubbish your spring clean creates is important.

Use these spring cleaning tips to refresh your home and minimise the amount of waste you create – or at least divert it away from landfill – in the process.

woman wafting sheet in spring clean.

What is a spring clean?

A spring clean is a thorough clear up and cleanse of a house usually at the start of springtime. These often happen in households in locations that experience cold winters (like the UK). One reason for this is that as warmer weather arrives it’s good for opening doors and windows when cleaning.

There are various theories behind why spring cleaning exists, but it’s generally a good time for dusting as high winds can carry dust out of the house. Plus, it’s not yet warm enough for insects entering homes to be an issue. Sometimes a spring clean is simply used to refer to a deep or thorough clean even if it’s not in springtime.

Spring cleaning can apply to the entire home or just one or two rooms. And it’s not just houses – you can spring clean a bungalow, flat, or even the garden shed.

When is spring cleaning?

There’s no official period for spring cleaning. Most people generally start having a spring clean any time from 1st March until the end of April. The official first day of spring is March 20th, while the last Sunday in March when the clocks go forward is also a popular tie to plan a spring clean.

carpet with vacuum cleaner and trainers on top.

How to spring clean your house

Spring cleaning your house can involve simply vacuuming and dusting every room or sorting through every cupboard, wardrobe, and chest of drawers for a complete clear-out. It may take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the size of your home and how thorough a job you plan.

An effective and efficient spring clean is preferable whatever size the task at hand. Use these spring cleaning tips to refresh your home, and reduce and manage waste responsibly.

Make a spring cleaning checklist

Writing a spring cleaning checklist is the easiest way to ensure every inch of your home is scrubbed and sparkling. Covering the jobs to do in each room should mean nothing is missed. If you don’t plan on a thorough cleanse you could create a list of general jobs and apply it to every room.

These are some common tasks to add to your spring cleaning checklist for the main rooms in your home:

  • Kitchen – defrost the freezer, clean the fridge, oven, microwave, and dishwasher, mop the floor, dust high surfaces (top of the fridge), clear countertops, degrease drains, clean windows, and wipe the walls.
  • Living room – dust and polish tables and furniture, wash cushion cases and curtains, clean windows and windowsills, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum sofas and chairs, vacuum/mop the floor, and shampoo any rugs or carpets.
  • Dining room – dust and polish furniture, mop/vacuum the floor, wash table cloths and curtains, dust blinds and curtain rods, clean windows and windowsills.
  • Hallways – clean the doormat, sweep and mop floors, wipe walls and doors, and organise any shoe or coat racks.
  • Bathroom – remove any unused or expired personal care items, clean mirrors, windows, bathtub, shower, and toilet, scrub tile grout, wash or replace shower curtain, mop the floor, and wipe down the walls.
  • Bedrooms – wash bedding, vacuum carpets and rugs, dust blinds and curtain rods, clean the windows, dust and polish furniture, flip your mattress, and remove any unwanted clothing and other items.

Create your own cleaning products

A great way to reduce waste when spring cleaning is with some homemade cleaning products. These are natural alternatives that help reduce any chemical and hazardous waste you’d otherwise produce. Here are some effective and almost effortless ideas to create cleaning products at home:

  • Repurpose old clothes as cloths for dusting, wiping, and even mopping down surfaces. You can always wash them out and reuse too.
  • Use lemon halves to naturally deodorise and clean microwave interiors, leaving behind a citrus aroma.
  • Clean glass surfaces with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar for a streak-free shine. Pour it into an empty spray bottle for that professional feel.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on carpets before vacuuming to remove odours.
  • Save an old toothbrush and scrub with it to clean hard-to-reach areas like tile grout and around faucets.
lemons next to cleaning spray bottle.

Deep clean carpets and rugs

Hopefully, you’ll vacuum carpets and rugs throughout the year to keep your home fresh. For a big spring clean you may want to go that bit further with a deep clean of any carpets and rugs. This helps get rid of the dirt and bacteria beyond the surface and any serious stains.

Start by clearing the room and vacuuming the carpet. Mix 1/4 cup of salt, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1⁄4 cup of vinegar in a bowl or jug for a DIY carpet stain remover and apply to any stains. Then fill an empty spray bottle with water and a little bit of soap.

Sprinkle baking soda and table salt over the carpet areas for the deep clean then spray with your DIY cleaning solution and leave to soak for a few minutes. Scrub with a stiff-bristled brush in one direction to loosen dirt, then go over in other directions. Press a towel in to soak up any water and then spray with clean water and dry with a towel again.

This method avoids creating any chemical waste. You can do the same on any rug in your home. If you find they’re dirtier than expected or plan on replacing them, arrange carpet and rug removal and disposal. This diverts them away from landfill and ensures they’re reused, recycled, or recovered.

Dust, wipe, and mop surfaces

Dusting is a big part of any spring cleaning. You’ll likely go over worktops and tables regularly but it’s those hard-to-reach areas and places you don’t normally look at that need dusting off and wiping down. It’s the perfect time as you can open your windows now it’s warm enough to encourage the dust out of your house.

Reduce waste by using an old t-shirt as a duster. Turn it inside out and dust away or tie it into a knot for a sturdier grip. You can also use old clothes, towels, and flannels for wiping down surfaces and mopping floors. These textiles should absorb any cleaning liquid or just water to easily wash any surface. Wash and dry them out to reuse as dusters or cloths for future cleaning.

Remember outdoor spring cleaning

It’s not just inside your home that needs refreshing, outdoor spring cleaning is important too. Now is the perfect time to tidy up your garden and spring clean your garage and shed. Treat your garage and shed like the rooms in your home by making a checklist of tasks.

Remove any unwanted items, sweep and vacuum the floor, wash the windows, wipe the walls, dust and clean any surfaces. Taking out stuff from your shed or garage creates a good opportunity to improve its organisation so things are easier to access. Re-organise your system for easier cleaning next year.

Spring cleaning your garden will depend on its size and the plants in it. Mowing the lawn, cutting hedges, trimming branches, pruning perennials, raking leaves, and wiping down garden furniture are common jobs. Add any green waste this creates to your compost pile – if you don’t have one book garden waste removal.

lawn mower cutting grass.

Donate unwanted items

A thorough spring clean will likely unearth various things you no longer need or want in your home. Reduce waste by donating items where possible. Some ideas of what and where to donate items during a spring clean include:

  • Give food from your cupboards to a local food bank
  • Drop off unwanted clothes and shoes at any nearby clothing banks
  • Donate furniture and appliances to charity shops

Not everything will be in a decent condition for donating. Use a man and van removal service to get rid of bulky items or bags of junk and divert them away from landfill.

Add some fun

Let’s face it – spring cleaning isn’t the most enjoyable activity. It can take hours and even days if you live in a big or messy home. The best way to make the time fly is to all pitch in and tackle the jobs together. It can be a fun family bonding activity.

Make a playlist so you can sing and dance along while you work. Turn cleaning into a friendly competition between kids but focus on cleanliness rather than speed to ensure the job still gets done well – such as who can make the best mop out of old clothes.

vacuuming confetti from a carpet.

Get help with your house clearance

Spring cleaning your home may throw up more things you want to get rid of than your first thought. If you’ve got many bags of junk or some big and bulky items of furniture, appliances, or other equipment, then it might be more efficient to use house clearance services.

At Divert our man and van services can remove all sorts of rubbish from your home. They’ll come out to your property, lift and load everything into the van (saving you the effort of a trip to the tip), and take it to a facility away from landfill. Get a free quote today – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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It’s important to recycle computers at the end of their life. Computers, laptops, PCs, and tablets are all waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE). Responsible computer disposal avoids them ending up in landfill whether you’re upgrading and replacing old models in the office or disposing of a broken laptop you use at home.

Getting rid of old computers isn’t like throwing away a crisp packet – you can’t just chuck them in your bin at home. You need to do a bit of preparation and then decide the best way to get rid of your old machine from your home or business. Learn how to recycle a computer in this guide.

Divert can help if your business needs to get rid of any computers or you’ve got a few ready to recycle at home. Call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online for a free quote and arrange removal of your old computers today.

computer and laptop on a desk.

How to prepare a computer, PC, or laptop for recycling

There are a few things you should do before recycling an old PC or laptop to stay safe and ensure as much as possible is recycled. Simply handing an old laptop over to someone else could lead to a security breach and exposing sensitive information. Follow all these steps before recycling your computer:

  • Back up everything you need – make sure you’ve removed and stored everything you need from your old computer on an external hard drive, USB stick, your new computer, or uploaded to the cloud. Make a note of any licence keys for software and double check you can access everything you need once removed before moving onto the next step.
  • Do a factory reset – to prevent access to any files or programs installed on your old computer or laptop it’s vital you do a full factory reset. Instructions for how to do this should be available on your device or online.
  • Use data shredding software – even after a factory reset some sensitive data may be accessible if your old computer falls into the wrong hands. You can shred data on Windows 10 and 11 systems by using the factory reset settings. To stay extra safe you may consider using additional data shredding software.
  • Remove the hard drive – an alternative to using data shredding software is to physically remove the hard drive and keep it safe. Use an external caddy and pop in your old hard drive so it can be used like a USB on your new computer.
  • Take out the battery (from a laptop) – depending on how you’re recycling an old laptop you might ant to remove the battery and recycle it separately. It should be taken out before the laptop recycling process anyway, but you can remove it and recycle in most battery bins too.
  • Peel off any stickers – if you’ve decorated your laptop or computer tower with some funky stickers it’s time to peel them off, as the paper and glue are potential contaminants. Anyone receiving your old laptop/computer probably won’t have the same taste as you and will appreciate their removal.

Where can you recycle computers?

Recycling an old PC or laptop from home is possible at a few places in the UK. These are all free and should ensure the computer and/or its parts are recovered. There are other options for getting rid of computers but for a choice that recycled your machine these are three good choices:

  • Electrical shops – many electrical retailers offer a takeback service that ensures your old PC or laptop is recycled. You don’t need to have originally bought the machine from the exact electrical shop either. If you’re buying something new they might even provide store credit or knock it off your purchase (though this varies between retailers).
  • Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) – most HWRCs will have an area or containers where you can recycle old computers and other electricals from your home. These must be domestic computers. There’s no charge although there may be limits to how many you can get rid of at once or in a year.
  • Computer recycling scheme – some other places run free computer recycling schemes, such as WEEECharity. They collect domestic computers and equipment for free, will wipe its data, and then refurbish and gives them to those in needs or recycles them.

Options for getting rid of old computers that work

Recycling isn’t the only option if you’re getting rid of an old computer and it’s still in good working order. It’s great to recycle a computer but the process requires energy and transportation, so finding ways to reuse or prolong its life is always best for the environment. These are a few free ideas to dispose of old computers:

  • Donate – got a friend or family member after a new laptop? Consider giving them your old one. Alternatively, take it to a charity shop or donate to a local community cause that could benefit from a computer.
  • Sell online – list your old computer, laptop, or IT equipment on sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace to make a bit of money and get rid of your old machine at the same time.
  • Upcycle – depending on what you use your computer for, could you just upgrade the graphics card or replace the speakers to improve performance? It saves on waste and should be cheaper than buying a new machine.

How are computers recycled?

After disposing of an old computer and sending it for recycling you might wonder what happens to it. If they can’t be reused then they’ll likely go to a specialist recycling centre where they’re processed, parts are recovered, and materials are separated and recycled. The main stages of computer recycling include:

  • First the old computers are sorted by their type – then they’re tested and any that work may be sent for refurbishing.
  • Key parts are removed from the computer including any speakers, the circuit board, and graphics cards.
  • It’s then disassembled, and parts separated by materials – such as any plastics, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and hazardous materials.
  • The hard drive is shredded and sometimes recycled into aluminium ingots that are used by the auto industry.
  • Everything remaining is separated by material and usually shredded and used to form new materials. Plastic, glass, and metals are sent to specialist recycling plants that deal with those materials and turn them into new ones.

How should businesses 
dispose of old computers?

Computers are essential to every business but eventually they need upgrading or replacing. However, you can’t just take them to an HWRC or back to the retailer, as they class as commercial waste. Getting rid of old computers from an office or any other kind of business requires commercial waste collection.

Book removal of your computers, laptops, and any other electrical equipment with licensed waste carriers. This ensures they’re collected and recycled safely, legally, and responsibly. If any computers still work then they may be refurbished and donated, but those that are past it will be recycled properly at professional facilities.

Arrange commercial waste collection of any type and number of old computers with Divert. Our licensed waste carriers can collect your equipment at a suitable time and transport it to a nearby facility for recycling. Get a free quote today – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

We offer WEEE collection services including old computers and IT equipment from businesses and homes across Yorkshire:

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Closed loop recycling is the process of using an item then recycling it and turning it into a new product of the same or a similar type. It’s a circular process where no additional materials are added to create the recycled product, and nothing goes to landfill.

For closed loop recycling all the materials in manufactured goods are recycled with nothing going to waste. Often the manufacturing process for such items is designed with closed loop recycling in mind. Careful consideration of materials used to avoid creating waste or quality degrading when recycled is important.

There are many examples of closed loop recycling in our daily lives and it’s good for homes and businesses to do their bit for the environment. Find out more about what closed loop recycling is, how it works, and the differences between open and closed loop recycling.

glass bottles in a recycling container.

What is a closed loop 
recycling system?

A closed loop recycling system is when products are used, the waste materials are collected and transported to a recycling facility. They’re then recycled and converted into new items of the same or similar goods that they started life as. No raw materials are required or added into the system to create new recycled products.

For example, an empty glass wine bottle can be collected and taken to a recycling facility. Here it’s washed, crushed with other glass waste, and turned into new recycled glass bottles. Then it’s sent to winemakers to be filled up with the finest red, white, or rose and used as a wine bottle again.

Closed loop recycling systems and processes vary depending on the specific waste type. However, the general process for closed loop recycling involves these steps:

  • Waste items are stored in bins, bags, or containers and collected from homes and businesses
  • They’re transported to recycling facilities where the waste is sorted and separated by material type
  • These materials are cleaned and fed into machinery that often crushes or shreds the waste into small pieces
  • It’s then processed and turned into new recycled materials and products of the same or similar type to the original
  • The recycled products are sent to manufacturers to use, and the closed loop recycling system starts again

Closed loop recycling examples

There are many examples of closed loop recycling in our daily lives – from recycling an empty drink can to a used jam jar. Many materials can be recycled numerous times without quality degrading to form new versions of their original products. Here are a few closed loop recycling examples:

  • Closed loop glass recycling – glass is infinitely recyclable; it can be recycled constantly without losing quality. Glass bottles, jars, and glassware can all be recycled into new bottles and jars.
  • Closed loop metal recycling – aluminium drink cans are the main example of metal closed loop recycling. They’re cleaned, crushed, rolled together, and cut to form new recycled metal cans.
  • Closed loop paper recycling – many types of paper can be turned back into new sheets and other paper products, such as writing, printing, and even toilet paper.
  • Closed loop plastic recycling – one of the most common examples of plastic closed recycling is converting used PET plastic drink bottles into new ones. Not all plastic is recycled through a closed loop system, however.
  • Closed loop textile recycling – some textiles go through a closed recycling process and are recycled as new fibres to create fabric for use in making new items of clothing, rugs, bedding, or other products.

Why is closed loop recycling good?

Closed loop recycling reduces the need to extract raw materials to create new products. This requires less energy, which results in a process that produces less pollution. Closed loop plastic recycling is especially beneficial as it avoids the need for fossil fuels that are otherwise used to create plastic types and products.

It also means less waste goes to landfill as all the material from products at the end of their life are reused. Many materials that can form part of a closed loop recycling system can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfill. Diverting them away from landfill avoids them adding to pollution levels and taking up landfill space.

What is open loop recycling?

Open loop recycling (or downcycling) is when waste items are recycled but turned into something different from their original purpose. The process may require the input of other virgin or raw materials. It can also create waste if some materials or parts of the product can’t be recycled into these new items.

Products of a similar material are usually processed, and the properties changed through heat, chemical reactions, or physical crushing to form new items. The material being recycled may also degrade in quality so it can’t be recycled again at the end of its life.

An example of open loop recycling is plastic milk bottles made from HDPE being collected and recycled but used to create new plastic pipes. With closed recycling, they would be recycled into more plastic milk bottles. Open loop recycling here means types of similar virgin plastic derived from fossil fuels may be added to create the products.

metal drinks cans on top of each other.

Open loop vs closed loop recycling

Open and closed loop recycling both aim to make good use of waste items after they’ve been used. These processes keep the materials in circulation and out of landfill. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Whether waste follows an open or closed loop recycling process often depends on the type of material.

Open loop recycling

  • Recycles waste into new items and keeps them away from landfill
  • Requires fewer natural resources to create new products
  • Some materials lose quality and can only be recycled once or a few times
  • Raw materials may need adding into some open loop recycling processes

Closed loop recycling

  • Products can be recycled and reused many times
  • No extra raw materials are needed
  • The materials maintain their quality throughout closed loop recycling processes
  • Many waste materials aren’t suitable for closed loop recycling

Got some recyclable waste you need collecting from your business? Find out more about our dry mixed recycling services or speak to one of our expert team for a free quote today – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.