Blog: What actually happens to your waste?

December 3rd, 2019

What is the first thought that springs to mind when you hear ‘waste disposal’? Is it landfill? Is it recycling? Or do you block it out because it’s ‘rubbish’?

Operating in the waste industry today still attracts a lot of genuine concern from customers and members of the public that the waste they are producing is going straight in to a ‘hole in the ground’, when in fact, that is not always the case.

The recycling process…

The main process for recycling is through our MRF (materials recycling facility). The waste is collected and tipped in a bay within our shed before going through various machines and our picking line to be segregated, bulked up and sent for reprocessing.

An example of materials that go through this process are aluminium & steel cans, plastic and mixed construction waste.

From here the segregated recyclables will be bulked up and sent to third party disposal outlets. Dependant on the material, it will be sent for either reuse or reprocessing. Materials that are predominantly included within this process are various grades of plastic, cardboard and metals.

What happens if recycling isn’t an option?

The residue from the initial sortation process will then either go through the process again to improve quality or will be bulked up and sent to RDF (refuse derived fuel). RDF sees residue waste turned into a valuable fuel resource.

Landfill is still an active disposal route. Certain waste streams are sent to landfill because there is not yet a recovery or recycling option available. As time, legislation and processes progress, less and less waste will be sent to end destination landfill.


Paul Davidson, Recycling Manager at Cumbria Waste Recycling Ltd said:

It is more important now than ever before that we help educate on recycling and waste. The perception of ‘everything gets put in a hole in the ground’ needs to change. Quality remains a massive factor in our ability to segregate and reprocess the waste to a high standard.

With material markets clamping down on contamination, we as a recycling business need to do the same. We will continue to invest in new equipment and processes to help with this. This will be a great benefit to the business and out valued customers.

Alongside our on-site operations and RDF outlets, waste we collect is also sent to our aggregate recycling plant, wood/green waste recycling plant, biomass and anaerobic digestion.

If you have any questions on the content above, please contact us, or view this short presentation.