More materials can now be recycled at home

By on 27/01/2014 in Cllr McKay, News

Residents of Birmingham can now recycle a wider range of materials thanks to a new arrangement between the city council and its waste disposal contractor Veolia Environmental Services.

Up until now only plastic bottles, tin cans, glass bottles, paper and card could be collected for recycling at the kerbside, but with immediate effect, households can now add plastic pots, tubs, food trays and aluminum foil to their green recycling boxes or in the body of their recycling wheelie bin.

And although the range of recyclables is expanding, there are still many plastic items that cannot be accepted due to technological limitations and these include all types of black plastic, all types of plastic bags, wrappers, polystyrene, Tetra Paks and films and all other non-packaging plastic items such as toys, washing-up bowls and buckets.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart city, said: “The expansion of the recycling service is great news for Birmingham on many levels.

“We'll be saving money for the Council taxpayer, helping the environment by diverting waste away from landfill and increasing the amount of materials that can be recycled.

“The wheelie bins we will soon be rolling out on a city-wide basis will give households extra capacity for recycling - making it easier than ever before for people to do their bit to make Birmingham as clean and green as possible.”

To help the recycling process, residents are asked to simply wash and squash their plastic bottles, tubs, pots, food trays and foil, then add them to their recycling box or wheelie bin along with their cans, tins, and glass bottles.

All plastic collected at the kerbside is taken by Veolia to a recycling facility near Wolverhampton where it is sorted into different grades of plastic. The machine that sorts the plastic works by using a “magic eye” which sorts by colour. The “magic eye” cannot detect black plastic - which is why this cannot be collected.

Mark Heesom, General Manager for Veolia Environmental Services in Birmingham, said: “Across the UK, householders use around 1.5 million tonnes of rigid plastic packaging every year, around half of which is made up of pots, tubs and trays from food packaging.  Most of this material ends up in landfill, which is clearly not good for the environment.

“This improvement to the recycling service we can offer in Birmingham will mean the city's plastic waste is transformed, often inside six weeks, into other useful products such as detergent bottles.”

To view a list of what can or cannot be recycled, please visit:

Households with more recycling than their current containers can fit (wheelie bin or the old box system) can request extra containers by logging on to


Notes to editors

The plastics that are now accepted within Birmingham's recycling boxes and recycling wheelie bins are:

• Plastic bottles of all types
• Yoghurt pots
• Margarine tubs
• Ice cream tubs
• Plastic trays (e.g.from chocolate and biscuit boxes) that are NOT black in colour
• Trays from meat and fish
• Fruit and vegetable punnets
• All bottle tops, lids and triggers
• Cream and custard pots
• Soup pots
• Instant Noodle pots
• Tubs for dishwasher and laundry tablets

The following items are still NOT accepted:

• Hard plastic items eg toys, washing-up bowls, tupperware lunchboxes etc
• Black plastic
• Plastic film or wrappers
• Plastic bags or black sacks
• Expanded polystyrene
• Food waste / general rubbish

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