What Happens to my Recycling?
Find out What Happens to each of the Items below once you have taken them to a Recycling Point or Household Waste and Recycling Centre. Reprocessing contracts can vary. Those listed are the ones used at present, but please be aware there may be short delays in updating this page.
The mixed recycling material collected in your household recycling bin is currently being sent to The William Tracey Group at Linwood where the mixed materials are sorted into the different recycling streams - paper, cardboard, aluminium cans, steel cans and plastic packaging before being sent to the different reprocessors for recycling back into new products. The Recycling & Waste Resource Management (pdf 460kb) gives an overview of the sorting process carried out at the facility in Linwood.
- Cooking Oil
- Earth and Rubble
- Electrical Appliances
- Food & Beverage Cartons (tetrapak type containers)
- Food & Drinks Cans and Aerosols
- Aluminium foil and food trays
- Food Waste
- Garden Waste
- Glass Bottles & Jars
- Household Batteries
- Lead Acid (Vehicle) Batteries
- Mobile Phones
- Paper (and white or grey card)
- Plastic Bottles
- Refillable Gas Canisters
- Scrap Metal
What happens to Cardboard?
It is bulked and baled in Ellon (Balmacassie Commercial Park) and sent to D S Smith Recycling or Saica Natur for reprocessing. Cardboard from south Aberdeenshire is also sent to EIS Aberdeen where it is baled and sent to Saica Natur for reprocessing. It is used mainly to make more packaging and paper products as well as the covering material on plasterboard.
Cooking oil is collected by Olleco who convert the waste cooking oil into 100% Biodiesel and a range of other renewable fuels at their purpose built biodiesel plant in Liverpool.
What happens to Earth and Rubble?
Earth and Rubble is sent to either Bridgend Sand and Gravel in King Edward, A&M Smith in Portlethen or Lovie Quarry & Concrete Products. The earth and rubble components are separated and the rubble is screened to sort it into different sizes and it is then used to supplement virgin aggregate.
Electrical and electronic appliances are recycled by our contractor, Repic, and an explanation of why, what, where and how to recycle can be found on Repic's website. Gas Discharge Lamps are recycled separately by our contractor Recolight.
Cooling Appliances: Appliances such as fridges, freezers, and air conditioning units are hazardous as waste and must be sent to remove cooling gases and insulation foam for treatment before recycling.
Large Household Appliances other than Cooling Appliances: Items such as washing machines, tumble dryers, microwaves, electric cookers, and fans are separated for metals recycling and recovery.
TVs and other Display Equipment containing Cathode Ray Tubes: Products such as TVs, computer monitors and other equipment containing cathode ray tubes must be sent for hazardous waste treatment before recycling suitable materials.
Gas Discharge Lamps (including fluorescent or low energy bulbs): Straight and compact fluorescent lamps, high intensity discharge lamps, but not normal household light bulbs (filament lamps) are classed as hazardous waste due to the small amounts of mercury they contain. This means they should not go to landfill, so they are recycled under the heading of 'gas discharge lamps.' Following removal of mercury for reuse or treatment, the metals and plastics can be separated and recycled. 'Normal' filament light bulbs do not contain hazardous materials and are difficult to recycle because of the mixture of materials in them. Therefore, they can go straight to landfill. We are still investigating recycling options for these types of bulbs.
All other Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Small Appliances): The many smaller electrical and electronic products, tools, and appliances used in households, such as computers, hair dryers, and vacuum cleaners, are collected together for metals recycling, and plastic recycling where possible.
They are stored at the four participating Household Waste & Recycling Centres and then collected by ACE UK , who take them to the UK carton recycling facility in West Yorkshire.
What happens to Food & Drinks Cans and Aerosols?
Steel and aluminium cans are magnetically separated in our baling room. Aluminium cans go to Novelis in Warrington to be made into new cans. Steel cans have normally been sent to Corus (although this can change, subject to market conditions) to be made into a variety of items, such as engine parts as well as new cans.
Aluminium foil and trays are collected along with food and drinks cans, magnetically separated and baled along with aluminium cans prior to being sent to Novelis in Warrington. They are then reprocessed along with the aluminium cans into new cans.
Silver coated plastic (such as crisp packets) are often mistaken for aluminium foil. Please ensure that only aluminium foil is put for recycling. You’ll know if it is foil because when you squash it in your hand it stays squashed.
Food waste is composted at Grays Composting Service's facility at Fordyce, near Banff under a contract with Keenan Recyling, New Deer. The food waste is composted in vertical composting units and the compost is used locally.
What happens to Glass Bottles & Jars?
The colour-separated glass is sent to O-I (previously known as the British Glass Recycling Company) in Alloa. It is crushed, cleaned and made back into new bottles and jars.
What happens to Household Batteries?
Batteries go to G & P Batteries where container loads of batteries are emptied into a large hopper, which feeds the bags of batteries down onto a conveyor belt to be hand-sorted by battery chemistry type.
Batteries of the same type are stored until enough have been gathered to make a cost effective shipment to the recycler of that particular battery type.
The batteries are turned into a variety of products, including more batteries, as well as being used in the steel industry.
What happens to Mobile Phones?
Always ask the retailer about recycling your old one when you buy a new mobile phone. There are also charities which collect old mobile phones for recycling as a way of raising money. We normally send ours to Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) who raise funds through Recycling Appeals. You can also recycle them at HWRCs as they are electrical equipment.
What happens to Oil?
Engine oil is collected by Safetykleen. Every litre is fully recovered and processed to produce high specification fuel oil or alternatively recycled for re-use as base oil.
What happens to Paper?
Your paper is taken to a bulking point to await transportation to the reprocessor. It is taken to Shotton Paper Mill (part of UPM Kymmene) in North Wales, where it is pulped and made into newsprint, which can be sold, used and recycled many more times.
What happens to Plastic?
Plastic packaging is sent to Jayplas for reprocessing. PET bottles are washed and flaked and used to produce a food grade pellet (rPET) that is sold to a range of high quality end markets. Other bottles are granulated to be made, by other companies, into a wide variety of products such as fleeces, recycling boxes, composters, watering cans, guttering, and the filling material for winter jackets.
What happens to Refillable Gas Canisters?
If at all possible, please return empty gas canisters to the original supplier or manufacturer (the manufacturer, at least, is usually indicated on the side of the canister). Most suppliers will be happy to accept the gas canisters back at no charge as they can refurbish and refill them for use again. If this is not possible, please take your canisters to a suitable Household Waste & Recycling Centre, checking first to see that they have facilities for gas canisters (or 'pressurised containers'). They are dealt with by specialist companies.
PLEASE - DO NOT dispose of them in your refuse bin. This is extremely dangerous.
It is taken to a local scrap merchant for sorting and is then sent to Corus or other suitable reprocessing companies for recycling.
What happens to Textiles?
The Salvation Army or Nathan's Wastesavers collect the textiles and sort them into grades. The articles collected are used locally where possible, or failing that, nationally or internationally.
All textiles put into the textile banks are reused or recycled in some way.
For example, cotton materials unsuitable for reuse are ripped up and made into bags of cleaning rags. These rags are sold to garages, factories and other businesses which raises funds for further work by the two collecting organisations.
Other unwearable items are used for mattress fillings or furniture padding.
What happens to Tyres?
They are collected by Sapphire Energy Recovery (website under development in May 2013). Sapphire bulk and ship the tyres to Lafarge Cement in Dunbar where they are shredded and used as fuel in the kilns to make cement as part of an energy from waste initiative.