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What happens to your recycling


Paper collected from your blue box is transported to our bulking facility at Buntingford, before being taken to a paper mill in King's Lynn. It is then transformed into new paper for use by the newsprint industry. Paper is collected seperately as this helps to increase its quality and value.

Mixed recycling: glass, cans, plastic bottles, plastic pots, tubs and trays, cartons and cardboard

These materials are collected from your grey mixed recycling bins (or from green communal recycling bins at flats) and taken to our bulking facility at Buntingford. It is then collected and taken to a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in St Albans where your materials are sorted and separated for recycling.

The sorting process includes hand picking incorrect items from the load, screens which separate cardboard and glass by size and air jets which blow these items off the line, magnets separate the steel and eddy currents are used to separate aluminium. Optical sorters using near-infra red technology separate the different plastics by type and colour.

Watch this video to discover how the contents of your grey recycling bin are sorted and separated for recycling.

Once materials are sorted by type, they are then sold on to different processing factories to be made into new products. 

For information about where your recycling is sent, visit

Food waste

Food waste is collected from your brown outdoor food caddy and emptied into a dedicated food waste collection vehicle. Then it is taken to the Cumberlow Green composting facility off the A507 near Rushden, North Herts where it is processed by In Vessel Composting.

This material falls under the Animal By Product Regulations and must be tipped indoors in the barn and is processed in In Vessel clamps where oxygen is blown through and it must reach 65-800C for a minimum of 4 days to be sanitised.

Garden waste

If you are signed up to the garden waste service, your brown wheelie bin is emptied into a collection vehicle and when full it is taken to the North Hertfordshire composting facility at Cumberlow Green.

The pure green garden waste is tipped in an outside bay and is open windrow composted.

Although food and garden waste go to the same place to be processed, they are processed using different methods and this is why it is important to ensure that you no longer put food waste in your brown garden waste wheelie bin.