Recycling in York

Kerbside recycling collections

We need you to check what can be recycled at the kerbside and what cannot before you place your materials in your recycling boxes for us to collect.

Our team unloads your boxes into compartments on a collection vehicle. We then take the items to a site where some materials are separated and bulked, and any unsuitable materials (known as ‘contamination’) are disposed of.

Because we ask you to initially sort your items, this reduces 'contamination' and means we only collect high quality materials which are suitable for reprocessing. We then sell these materials on to manufacturers who reprocess them.

Occasionally we may need to collect your recycling in a different way, for example, when there is a vehicle breakdown. When this happens, we may mix (or 'co-mingle') your recycling in the vehicle. All of the material will still be recycled, but we will need to sort the materials after collection.

Contaminated kerbside collections

We receive an income for the recyclable material we collect; however, the value of each collection is reduced due to contamination.

If you put incorrect items into your recycling box:

  • we could reach the maximum 'contamination threshold' of our contract
  • the company we deal with could decide not to separate items
  • we may need to send a whole lorry load of recycling to landfill
  • we may incur a charge

This is why it is very important for you to sort your items correctly, both for the environment and in order to keep our waste collection costs as low as possible – check what can be recycled at the kerbside and what cannot.

Recycling and mixed plastics

We can only accept plastic bottles in your plastic recycling container - unfortunately, we don't currently have the facilities in York to recycle mixed plastics such as packaging, food wrapping, trays, tubs and pots.

We've trialled the feasibility of recycling mixed plastics, and believe that we could, in time, increase the amount of material we recycle. However, the market for mixed plastics is very unpredictable and companies would charge us for reprocessing, so we cannot afford to do this in our current financial situation.

We’ll continue to watch the market and explore opportunities to increase the amount we recycle in future. In the meantime, please put plastic packaging, food wrapping, trays, tubs and pots in your general household waste.

Recycling at our Household Waste Recycling Centres

You can take many items which can't be recycled at the kerbside to your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) (see Hazel Court HWRC or Towthorpe/Strensall HWRC) where we provide skips for scrap metal, hard plastics (such as plastic toys and garden furniture), and other materials.

Much of the waste you take to HMRCs is recycled – in the first quarter of 2017 we recycled around 66% of this waste.

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