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What goes into your bin FAQ

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After your recycling is collected it is taken to the recycling or composting facility to be sorted and processed.  If incorrect items are placed into the blue bin, brown bin or blue bag it can cause problems at the facility and impact on the quality of the materials collected.

Why do the collection crews check my recycling bins before emptying them?

The collection crews look in the blue bin, brown bin and blue bag before they are emptied to ensure that they contain the correct items for that container . If they spot something that should not be in the bin they will not empty it and a sticker will be left on the bin showing what item should not be being placed into the bin. This item should then be removed and the bin will be emptied on the next scheduled collection day.

The most common items causing problems in the blue bin are nappies, food waste, black bin bags, plastic toys and household waste. All of these items should be placed into the grey bin.

Why can’t the Council collect all dry recyclable materials?

The Council uses a Materials Recovery facility in the West Midlands and whilst it is very good at sorting the dry recycling materials, for example glass and cans, it is unable to accept all materials due to technological constraints and the availability of markets for these materials.  This is the case for all Material Recovery facilities across the country.

Why can’t the Council recycle my nappies?

There are a limited number of companies that provide this service and the cost to collect and treat would be high. Nappies need to be placed into the grey bin as they cannot be recycled in East Staffordshire. Instead, they will be sent to an Energy Recovery facility to help produce electricity. Placing nappies into the blue bin contaminates the rest of the blue bin contents and means that we cannot collect your bin.

What is the cost of a rejected load?

A rejected load can, on average, cost the Council approximately £3000 to cover the additional cost of disposal.

Why won’t the Council collect my blue bin if it contains black bags?

Unfortunately we are unable to take any recyclables placed in black bin bags as some residents hide non-recyclable items such as nappies, food and household waste in them. They can also present a danger to people working at the treatment facility since they cannot see what is inside the bags. 

Can polystyrene packaging and trays be recycled?

No, unfortunately not at present as it cannot be sorted and breaks up during the collection and sorting process resulting in contamination of other materials.  Polystyrene should be put into your grey bin.

Why can’t the Council take textiles?

Textiles and clothing can be recycled using a clothing bank at one of the local recycling sites, or through a local charity.  We cannot collect textiles or clothing in the blue bin as they are not accepted at the Materials Recovery facility.

What does the Council mean by the word textiles?

Textiles are anything that is made from natural or manmade materials in a cloth form including bedding, duvets, pillows, clothing, curtains, carpets, cushions and towels.

Why do my small waste electrical items need to be left outside the blue bin?

While small electrical items are collected by the same collection crew, they are not processed at the same facility. The small electrical items are placed into another part of the vehicle and are not offloaded with the main dry recycling.

Why can’t I put food waste into my blue bin?

Food waste has to be processed in a controlled way in order to kill all of the bacteria that it can produce. The contents of your blue bin are not recycled in a way that can kill bacteria or that can separate food from it. The food waste also contaminates and spoils the quality of the other recyclables.

Can I recycle old toys?

Unfortunately most unwanted/old toys are not suitable for recycling and need to be disposed of in your grey bin. If they can be reused, then please pass on to a charity shop.

Why is the Council so prescriptive in what it can take in the blue bin?

The Council has a contract with the material recovery facility to deliver specific materials that the facility is capable of sorting.  A load that contains the wrong items will be rejected at a cost to the council.  Residents should be aware that not all items made from plastic, metal or glass should be included in the blue bin.

What do I do if my recycling bins are not emptied because they contain incorrect materials?

You need to remove the incorrect item and present your bin for collection on the next scheduled collection day. The Council will not return to your property to collect a contaminated bin. The contents of the bins can be taken to the local household waste and recycling centre if it is too full to wait until the next collection.