Recycling in York

Recycling with kerbside collections

We need you to place certain materials in separate containers for us to collect.

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

Because you initially sort your items it reduces the 'contamination' and means we collect only 'high quality materials' which are suitable for reprocessing and bundling, ready to be sold on to manufactures.

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 (also called co-mingle) some or all of your recycling in the vehicle. All of the material will still be recycled, but some sorting will be needed after collection.

Contaminated kerbside collections

We receive an income for the recyclable material we collect. However, ‘contamination' reduces the value of each collection.

If you put incorrect items into your recycling box:

  • the ‘maximum contamination threshold’ in our contract could be reached
  • the company we deal with can decide not to separate items
  • a whole lorry load of recycling could be sent to landfill
  • we may incur a charge

This is why you sorting your items at home is very important, to both the environment and to keeping our waste collection costs as low as possible – check what can be recycled at the kerbside and what cannot.

Recycling and ‘mixed plastics’

Currently we can only accept plastic bottles in your plastic recycling container - unfortunately, there's no facility in York to recycle ‘mixed plastics’ such as packaging, food wrapping, trays, tubs and pots.

We've trialled the feasibility of mixed plastics, and seen that we could increase the amount of material recycled in York - however, the market for these plastics is volatile 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 any opportunities that become available. In the meantime, please put plastic packaging, food wrapping, trays, tubs and pots in your general household waste.

Recycling at other locations

Many items which can't be recycled at the kerbside can be taken to your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) (see Hazel Court HWRC or Strensall/Towthorpe HWRC) where there are 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 around 66% was recycled and not landfilled.

Check our A to Z of reuse and recycling.

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