In recent years the rejected recycling rate in Leeds and other UK cities has been on the increase as the companies that process recyclable waste have been becoming more strict about what they will and won’t accept.
Last summer Leeds City Council told householders to “sort it out” by only recycling plastic numbered 1, 2 or 4 on its recycling symbol, and not types 3, 5, 6 and 7.
“The plastics collected in the city are dictated by the market demand among material re-processors,” the council explained at the time. “The market demand for plastics is strongest for types 1, 2 and 4 in Yorkshire, but very limited for other types.”
At the same time, Councillor Mohammed Rafique, the council’s executive member with responsibility for the environment, said: “On average plastic makes up just over 11% of the average Leeds household’s black bin content – and therefore an additional 17,000 tonnes of plastic that could be recycled across the city each year.”
Why is glass not recycled in Leeds?
Later in the year in September, residents were again urged to sort their recyclables more effectively in order to tackle the rising rejected recycling rate in Leeds.
This time to coincide with the 15th National Recycle Week, the council advised that as much as a third of the general waste thrown away by Leeds households is actually recyclable.
Much of this is glass, which is not collected at the kerbside from Leeds households, unlike many other English cities including:
- Liverpool – Glass is collected with all other recycling in blue bins and bags.
- Manchester – Glass jars and bottles go in the brown bin with plastic and tins.
- Sheffield – Newly introduced brown bins accept glass, tins and plastic.
- York – Glass is collected kerbside separately from plastic and metal, card and paper.
The council say glass is not recycled in Leeds kerbside collections because if it shatters, it can contaminate other recyclable materials, especially paper – but in other cities they simply collect paper separately, or have separate glass collections.
One man’s trash…
In the end it all comes down to economics. Contaminated loads and the ‘wrong kind’ of recycling make it more likely that re-processors will reject not just the contents of the one bin, but the entire lorryload of waste.
At the same time, Leeds City Council say it is not economical to collect glass separately from other recyclable materials – even though other cities do.
For Leeds skip hire providers, sorting waste is our business. We have a commitment to recover all economically recyclable materials where it is possible to do so, while diverting as much waste away from landfill sites as possible.
If you’re expecting to generate a large amount of mixed waste whether it’s from a household DIY project, a spring cleaning clear-out or a garden party with a lot of guests, skip hire could save you a drive to the glass recycling bank afterwards.
You also won’t need to sort and separate your recycling or worry about different kinds of plastic – just put it all in a skip and let us do the rest, safe in the knowledge that we will recycle as much as we reasonably can.