Severn Waste Services and Mercia Waste Management

ENVIROSORT - Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions asked about kerbside collections and recycling in general:

Paper and Card:

+ / -Can I put shredded paper into my recycling bin?

Although paper is recyclable, shredded paper is so small that it can get mixed up with other materials so is difficult to separate. 

Shredded paper can be put into home compost bins or re-used at home for packaging or animal bedding. 

Any shredded paper that you do put into your household recycling container should be contained inside an enclosed paper item such as an old envelope, paper bag or used cereal box.

+ / -Can I recycle Wrapping paper?

Only certain types of wrapping paper can be recycled. The easiest way to tell is to try to rip it or do the ‘scrunch test’.  Scrunch the wrapping paper into a ball in your hand…

If it ‘scrunches’ and holds its shape or rips easily (like newspaper) then it can go into your household recycling bin.

If it bounces back when you ‘scrunch’ it up (in the same way as a crisp packet would) or it is difficult to rip then it will need to go into your household non-recycling bin as it is likely to be made from metallic or plastic materials. 

Embellished wrapping paper with sequins, glitter, bows etc. cannot be recycled – try to separate those decorations where possible and if you can’t then it needs to go into your non-recycling bin.

Alternatively you could use re-usable packaging, such as gift bags which can be used over and over!

+ / -Can I recycle greetings cards?

Yes, as long as they do not have lots of embellishments on them.

Badges, bows, batteries and glitter cannot be recycled at the paper mill so separate these items.  If you can re-use things like bows then that’s a great solution.  Otherwise bows and glittery card can go into your non-recycling bin.  Batteries should go to your nearest Household Recycling Centre where they can be recycled - check whether your local Household Recycling Centre can accept them here.

Alternatively, greetings cards can sometimes be re-used at home – old Christmas cards for example can make great gift tags for the next year!

+ / -Can I put old books into my recycling bin?

No, books cannot go into your recycling bin. 

Books should be taken to a local charity shop if they’re in good condition or many communities now offer a ‘book swap’ service.

Alternatively, many of our Household Recycling Centres can accept books to be recycled or re-used.  Check whether your local Household Recycling Centre can accept them here.

Newspapers, magazine, telephone directories can go into your household recycling bin (just be sure to remove any plastic wrappings or free gifts). 

+ / -Can I recycle takeaway pizza boxes?

Pizza boxes can be included in your household recycling container as long as they don’t contain any food residues.  If a section of the takeaway box is heavily contaminated with food or grease then rip this part out and put it into your non-recycling bin, the clean section can then be put into your recycling bin at home.

+ / -Can I recycle egg boxes?

Yes, egg boxes can go into your household recycling container.

+ / -Can I recycle tissue products like kitchen roll?

No – tissue products like tissues, kitchen roll and toilet roll should go into your non-recycling bin.

This is because they are difficult to recycle and also because they could contaminate other materials in your recycling bin.

Plastics:

+ / -Why can’t I put black plastic into my recycling collection?

Black plastic should go into your non-recycling bin.

Plastic items are sorted by optical scanners which use the reflection of light to identify the types of plastics.

Black plastic doesn’t reflect light, so cannot be seen and sorted by the scanners.  Any other colour is absolutely fine.

+ / -Why can’t I put plastic film into my recycling collection?

Plastic film can be very difficult to recycle and can cause technical issues with the automated sorting equipment, causing mis-sorting and the rejection of otherwise good materials.

Lots of supermarkets can accept carrier bags and films in their stores now.  You can find your nearest recycling point for films here.

+ / -Can I recycle plastic bottle tops?

Bottle tops can be included in your recycling, once you have cleaned your bottles please screw them back on and put them into your recycling bin.

+ / -Can I put plastic plant pots in my recycling collection?

Plant pots are made out of a wide range of different materials so it can sometimes be difficult to identify what they’re made from.  Plastic plant pots should not be placed in your recycling collection as they are often made of black or very dark coloured plastic. These cannot be seen by the optical scanners at EnviroSort and therefore cannot be separated.

In addition there can be issues with plant pots contaminating other items in the recycling as they often still contain bits of compost and other garden residues.
Some garden centres offer a recycling and re-use scheme for old plant pots, you can check whether your local one can accept them here.

Alternatively, if you use terracotta plant pots they will be accepted at Household Recycling Centres in the ‘soil and rubble’ container.  You can find the details of your local Household Recycling Centre here.

+ / -Can I recycle plastic household bottles with a ‘pump’ top?

You should put the body of these plastic bottles into your recycling bin but make sure you remove the pump top and put that into your non-recycling bin.
These tops tend to be made of several different materials so are difficult to recycle.  They can also often still contain a liquid residue. 

Glass:

+ / -Why can't I recycle glass in my recycling sacks?

Placing glass in your recycling sacks poses a number of health and safety risks to the collection crews and those working in EnviroSort.
Your local Household Recycling Centre may be able to accept glass bottles and jars. 

Check whether your local Household Recycling Centre can accept them here.

+ / -Can I recycle any glass other than bottles and jars?

The only glass items that can go into your household recycling bin are bottles and jars.

Other items such as window pane glass are made of a different type of glass to bottles and jars and should be safely disposed of with non-recyclable waste.  For bulky items you can locate your local Household Recycling Centre here.

If you have recycling sacks instead of a recycling wheelie bin then you can’t include any type of glass.

Did you know that some light bulbs can be taken to your local household waste site for recycling? Fluorescent tubes, energy saving lightbulbs and LED bulbs can be recycled at many local Household Recycling Centres.  Check whether your local Household Recycling Centre can accept them here.

+ / -Can I recycle any colour glass?

Yes, as long as it is a glass bottle or a glass jar then these can go into your household recycling bin. You can even leave the lids on glass bottles and jars as these will be separated in the process.

If your bottle has a cork then this needs to go into your non-recycling bin.

Metals:

+ / -Can I put large metal sweet and biscuit tins in my recycling collection?

Yes, you can put large metal sweet and biscuit tins in your recycling. Please ensure the tin is empty and place the lid on the tin. Remember there is no need to squash the tin.

Remember you can only recycle food and drink cans in your household bin.  For large container such as empty paint tins please visit your local Household Recycling Centre.  Check where your local Household Recycling Centre is here.

+ / -Why can I not put foil into my recycling bin?

There are a number of reasons why you cannot put foil into your recycling bin at home.

It has to be processed differently to other aluminium items such as aluminium cans and it accounts for a negligible amount of the commingled recycling (approx. 0.001%) so would take up valuable storage space at EnviroSort which can be more beneficially used for other materials.

Most Household Recycling Centres have a container where foil can be taken to be recycled.  Check whether your local Household Recycling Centre can accept it here.

+ / -Can I recycle any type of metal?

Please only include food and drink cans or empty aerosols in your household recycling bin.

Most other metals will be accepted at our Household Recycling Centres.  You can find the details of your local Household Recycling Centre here.an I recycle aerosols?

You can also recycle empty, non-hazardous household aerosols such as deodorants or air fresheners.  Just make sure you put the plastic lids into your bin separately. 

Please do not put gas canisters into your recycling bin as it can cause a hazard to our operational team and could damage equipment in the plant.

Cartons:

+ / -Do I have to remove the plastic spout / opening device from cartons?

No, plastic spouts can be left on the cartons. Please remember not to squash your cartons.

Miscellaneous:

+ / -What items should be squashed when I put them into my recycling bin?

You SHOULD squash – paper, card, cardboard and cartons. 

Please DON’T squash – plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays or aluminium cans and steel cans.

The main separator in EnviroSort works by separating flat things e.g. paper and card, from 3D things like cans and bottles. That’s why we ask you not to squash bottles and cans or scrunch up paper.

+ / -Why can't I put textiles into my recycling collection?

As your recyclables are collected mixed together in one container we cannot collect textiles for recycling because they might get spoilt.

You can donate textiles to charity for re-use and there are also recycling sites throughout your area where you can take unwanted textiles. You can find the details of your local Household Recycling Centre here.

+ / -What textiles can I take to the clothing bank?

All of our Household Recycling Centres have ‘clothing banks’. You can find the details of your local Household Recycling Centre here.

You need to be sure that the textiles you throw into the containers are clean and dry.  Each of the ‘clothing banks’ has instructions written on them to advise what you can and cannot throw away.

If the clothing has a small rip or tear it can still be put into the ‘clothing bank’ as it can be recycled into cleaning rags.  Even things like curtains, shoes and socks can be recycled in the ‘clothing banks’.

+ / -Why can’t I put all my items for recycling in a carrier bag?

Recyclables should be placed into your household recycling bin loose.

The recyclables need to be loose so the equipment at EnviroSort can separate the different materials. If you place the recyclables in a carrier bag, the bag would first need to be opened and could potentially contain items which pose a health and safety risk to those working at EnviroSort.

If you find you have lots of plastic bags, you could consider using a re-usable shopping bag rather than single use plastic ones.  Alternatively, many supermarkets now offer a carrier bag recycling service, you can check whether your local one can accept them here
+ / -Why can’t I put batteries in my recycling bin?

Batteries are hazardous waste and should not be put into any of your household bins.

Old batteries can be taken to your local household waste site where they are collected for recycling. You can find the details of your local Household Recycling Centre here.

+ / -Can I put polystyrene packaging into my recycling collection?

Please dispose of this type of polystyrene in your non-recycling waste container.

Polystyrene packaging like the type found protecting new electrical items or the small polystyrene chips often found in boxes sent through the post, should not be placed in your recycling bin as it cannot be recycled at EnviroSort.

Bulky polystyrene packaging can be taken to your local Household Recycling Centre and included in the ‘waste to landfill’ container. You can find details of your local Household Recycling Centre here.

Double check that your packaging is definitely made of polystyrene.  Some companies now use packaging materials that look like polystyrene but are, in fact, starch based so can be composted in your home composting bin.

+ / -How clean do my recyclables need to be?

When you put your recyclables into your recycling container please make sure they are clean and dry.

All they need is a rinse - they just need to be clean enough that there is no residue left in the containers.

For items such as aerosol cans or bleach bottles please just ensure it is completely empty (no more liquid or spray coming out of the container).  Put the lids back onto any plastic bottles before including them in your recycling bin.  Plastic lids from empty aerosol cans can be included in your recycling bin, separate from the metal can. 

If you’re unable to empty any containers fully then you should not put it into your recycling container as there is a risk it could contaminate everything else in there.

+ / -Can I only recycle items from my kitchen?

No, you can recycle items from any area of your home as long as they are the following materials:

Plastic bottles, plastic tubs, plastic pots, plastic trays, cardboard, card, paper, cartons (e.g. Tetrapak), aluminium cans or steel cans.

Items that people commonly miss include plastic shower gel bottles (as long as they aren’t black), toothpaste boxes, tissue boxes, perfume bottles, washing tablet boxes, aerosols (such as air fresheners and furniture polish) and detergent sprays.

+ / -Can I recycle tubes e.g. toothpaste, moisturiser

No.  Tubes are very difficult to handle as they can contain many different materials and it’s hard to be certain that they’re clean – even when you have finished a tube of toothpaste you will find there’s still a residual coating on the inside of the tube.

Please put any tubes into your non-recycling bin.

+ / -Can I recycle pouches? E.g. juice pouches and pet food

No.  Pouches are very difficult to handle as they can contain many different materials and it’s hard to be certain they’re clean – even when you have emptied a pouch you will find there’s still a residual coating on the inside.

Please put any pouches into your non-recycling bin.

+ / -Do I need to remove labels?

No, you can leave labels on your household packaging when you put it into your recycling bin – it will be removed as part of the recycling process. 

Make sure you remove any personal information (e.g. delivery notes) and tape from items such as cardboard packaging boxes.

+ / -Can I recycle plastic trays and punnets?

Yes, these can go into your recycling bin as long as they aren’t black.

Make sure you clean them out.  If fruit punnets have a netting around them, a film lid or bubble wrap on the inside be sure to separate that out into the non-recycling bin first.

+ / -Can I recycle crisp packets and sweet wrappers?

No, these are often made of multiple materials such as a plastic layer and a metallic layer which cannot be easily separated.

These should go into your non-recycling bin.

+ / -Can my disposable coffee cup go into my recycling bin?

No, unfortunately these cups tend to be made of several layers of material which are heat resistant, waterproof and difficult to separate.  Often they can also contain residue of drinks which have been contained in them too.

They should go into your non-recycling bin.

Using a re-usable mug whilst you’re at home can make a huge difference and you can get travel mugs too which can be refilled whilst you’re out and about.

+ / -I’m having a party, can I recycle my paper plates and plastic cups?

No.  These items need to go into your non-recycling bin.

Paper plates will often still have food residues on them so may potentially contaminate the other recyclables in the container.  Plastic cups are often made from polystyrene which cannot be easily recycled.

Alternatively you could consider using re-usable plastic cups and plates which can be cleaned at the same time that you’re doing other washing up!

Collections:

+ / -Can I get a bigger bin / more sacks?

If you are recycling more than you can fit in your bin please contact your local council who will be help by providing a bigger or extra bin / sacks.

To find information about your local District Council please click here.

+ / -My recycling hasn’t been collected?

Please contact your local district council who will be able to assist.

To find information about your local District Council please click here.




Severn Waste Services
The Marina, Kings Road, Evesham
Worcestershire WR11 3XZ

Tel: 01386 443376
Fax: 01386 446757
Email: enquiries@severnwaste.co.uk

Mercia Waste Management
The Marina, Kings Road, Evesham
Worcestershire WR11 3XZ

Tel: 01386 443376
Fax: 01386 446757
Email: enquiries@severnwaste.co.uk

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