Are you recycling right? It’s all in the mix

It's all in the mix

We get asked lots of questions about what items can go in your mixed recycling bin, sometimes people are unsure. All of the things below are wanted in your mixed recycling bin and can be recycled to make new products.

  • Shampoo and shower gel bottles
  • Drinks and milk bottles
  • Cleaning product bottles
  • Aerosols
  • Foil and foil trays
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Drink cans and food tins

All the things on this list are not recyclable, so they don’t belong in your mixed recycling bin. Please put all of these items in your general waste bin so they can be used to create electricity.

  • Pots, tubs and trays
  • Plastic packaging
  • Plastic bags
  • Black bin bags
  • Plastic wrappings

 Drinks bottles

The golden rule: if it’s bottle-shaped, then you can recycle it.


Busting the myths about recycling plastic…

We only recycle plastic bottles in Greater Manchester. People are sometimes confused about this and put all types of low grade plastic packaging in their mixed recycling bin – things like margarine tubs, food trays and yoghurt pots. We want these in the general waste bin so they can be turned into energy.
There are really good reasons why we can only recycle plastic bottles in Greater Manchester.
• Manufacturers that make new products only want high grade plastics. High grade = plastic bottles.
• Plastics like yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and plastic trays (pots, tubs and trays) are a low grade plastic and the manufacturers just don’t want these to make new products out of. As there is a low demand for this type of plastic, there are very few recycling plants that can recycle these and there just isn’t the capacity to take the volume that we have in Greater Manchester.
• During the recycling process the plastic is melted. A plastic pot, tub, tray and a plastic bottle melt at different temperatures, meaning the pots, tubs and trays contaminate the bottles and the batch cannot be used to make new products.

Curious to know more about recycling plastic? We bust 7 myths that lots of people don’t know here.

Ever wondered what happens to your recycling?

Mixed recycling collected from your wheelie bin is delivered to our Materials Recovery Facility in Sharston, Manchester. Here it is separated by different sorting technologies. Plastic bottles are sorted into different types – HDPE, PVC and PET – and then baled to be sent on for recycling– plastic bottles are turned into plastic flake to be used in new products. Aluminium and steel cans are sorted into separate bales and glass bottles and jars are collected in a container and sent for reprocessing.

Take a look inside our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).

What happens to the plastics that can’t be recycled?

Plastic that can’t be recycled goes to the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Runcorn. The process sees treated, non-recyclable waste exposed to high temperatures under highly-controlled conditions. The energy released is then captured, turned into electricity and fed into the national grid.

Runcorn Energy Recovery is a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) facility. Impressively, it treats up to 850,000 tonnes of general waste each year and generates up to 70MW of electricity and up to 51 MW of heat.

Recycle for Greater Manchester