Whilst most items can be recycled and advances in technology over the years have improved recycling rates further. There are still certain items that are non-recyclable and can’t be put in the recycling bins and instead have to, unfortunately, be thrown away. Wheeldon’s have spent a lot of time on Waste for Energy, this process sends waste which is non-recyclable for recovery, creating RDF (refuse derived fuel) and SRF (solid recovered fuel) which makes energy by being burnt to produce cement.
The Non-Recyclable items include:
Incandescent/Halogen light bulbs – These cannot be recycled and shouldn’t be put in with the normal recyclable glass because the fine wires in the glass processing are difficult to separate and have a high cost to do so. Fluorescent tubes are recycled and the mercury is extracted. The glass from light bulbs can go as aggregate (ie soil) for gardensor to cover waste on landfills to help break down the waste tipped.
Wrapping paper– This shouldn’t be put in your bin as it is low-quality paper and is not accepted because Wheeldon’s and the council won’t earn revenue. In baled cardboard, we are allowed 5% of wrapping paper and other types of waste paper so it’s not a problem for Wheeldon’s.
Polystyrene– These include items such as food containers and white cups and can’t be recycled at the materials recycling facility. However, it can be recovered and sent for Waste to Energy (RDF and SRF).
Plastic bottle caps– If the tops are left on then air will be trapped inside. This means when the bottles are baled together, the air pressure could pop them back into shape resulting in the bales falling apart. The bottle tops must be separate so the bottles can be washed and recycled differently.
Black plastic containers– Plastics are sorted using the reflection of light. Black plastic doesn’t reflect light and cannot be seen by the scanners and could then potentially contaminate other materials. Only virgin black plastic can to reprocessed if it’s separated from other colours which may not be cost effective.
These items can cause a big problem if they end up in the recycling because they don’t have the proper characteristics to be processed through the recycling machines. They can cause a temporary halt or even result in damage being done to the machine. Although they can’t be put into your council bin, some of these items can actually be recycled by taking them to your local material recycling facility ie Wheeldon’s.
Due to the sheer volume of recycling Wheeldon’s do, small amounts of greasy cardboard or wrapping paper would not cause a problem and can be sold. Paint is recycled by heat treatment but it is costly. We do however struggle to recycle polystyreneand black plastic, we send it to ourWaste to Energy site and it goes for recovery (ie RDF and SRF).
Read more about RDF and SRF and waste for energy…click here