Glass goes to Ardagh Glass in Barnsley, S. Yorkshire or Berrymans in South Kirkby W. Yorkshire. On arrival, if glass colours have not already been separated, it is optically sorted by high-tech machinery. Crushed glass (cullet) is melted down in furnaces and reformed to make new bottles and jars.
Paper is taken to Palm’s Paper Mill in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Paper is simply mixed with water, de inked and pulped. It is then reformed to make new newsprint. The process is now highly automated, but similar to that of 2,000 years ago, where fibres soaked in water are drained on a fine wire screen and dried under pressure and heat.
Cardboard is taken to D S Smith Plc, who operate a network of regional collection depots across the UK and have four mills: Kemsley (Sittingbourne, Kent); Hollins (Darwen, Lancs); Wansbrough (Watchet, Somerset); Higher Kings (Cullumpton, Devon). Cardboard is pulped and made into new corrugated board, or flat card, for new packaging.
Cans are magnetically sorted by Palm Recycling Ltd, to separate aluminium from steel. Aluminium cans are baled and sent to Novelis in Warrington, Cheshire where they are melted down and made into new cans. Steel cans are baled and sent to SIMS Metal Management, the world’s largest metals recycler, melted down and made into new steel, for use in new cans, cars, white goods, building construction etc.
Plastic bottles are taken to Palm Recycling Ltd then baled before being sent to Connorco Ltd in Gateshead. Bottles are separated into their different polymer types, using near infra-red technology. Polymer types are PET(E) (Polyethylene Terepthalate) and HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). Bottles are granulated, heated, then re–extruded with other virgin polymer (of the same chemical type) to make new plastic products.
Textiles are collected by the Salvation Army. Good quality clothing is resold in charity shops, with a proportion going to developing countries. Garments which are past their wearable life are shredded and made into flock, for use in furniture upholstering, mattress filling, carpet underlay etc. There are companies in West Yorkshire who are engaged in this process. 95% of donated clothing can be re-used somewhere, somehow by someone.
Aluminium foil is collected by the Council and various local charities. Foil goes into a furnace where it is melted down and the liquid metal poured into a mould, producing an ingot. When cold, the ingots are sent to foundries where they are melted again, and cast into products such as car engine blocks and cylinder heads. Garden waste is taken to local farms where it is sorted for contamination, shredded and composted. It is mixed with other organic material and re-used on the farm.