There are many myths and misunderstandings about recycling in Southampton and the UK. We've put together this 'mythbusting' page to help you understand the truth about recycling in your local area.
Please visit the Hampshire County Council website for more information.
Paper should be recycled locally to provide electricity SHOW
Hampshire already generates electricity through incineration of residual waste.
All kerbside waste not collected for recycling or composting is sent to one of the three Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) we have in Hampshire where the waste is incinerated and then the energy created is utilised to make electricity for local homes. The three sites together are able to process over 420,000 tonnes of waste each year, whilst simultaneously generating enough electricity to power 53,000 homes. It would be a waste of a recyclable material to send paper here when we are utilising empty spaces on vessels to China where it can be recycled.
Paper is burnt/landfilled when it gets to China SHOW
A full audit trail is maintained at all times meaning that Veolia UK and the Waste Disposal Authorities can be confident that the material is being processed by suitable outlets who comply with all relevant legislative, licensing and planning requirements. Chinese reprocessors have some of the most stringent input quality requirements in the world.
You can only recycle paper a few times SHOW
The fibres in paper start to break down after they have been recycled five or six times, however the material can still be used to make egg cartons, packaging, loft insulation, paints and even new road surfaces.
Sending material abroad
Sending material to China for recycling is a waste of money and energy SHOW
This is untrue.
Because of the imbalance in trade between the UK and China, exporting recyclable material to China utilises space on cargo ships that may not otherwise be utilised. As a result of this, CO2 emissions associated with transporting recovered materials to China are below 10 per cent of the carbon savings that arise from recycling the material.
Why do we send material abroad for recycling, there is adequate UK provision for paper recycling? SHOW
In the UK, eight million tonnes of paper are recovered for recycling every year, when there is only capacity to recycle three million tonnes. There has recently been a further reduction in UK news and pams recycling capacity.
In February 2015, Aylesford Newsprint mill in Kent went into administration. It was this mill that was, at that point, receiving Hampshire's high quality newspaper stream (known as "news and pams"), and it led to a reduction of 800,000 tonnes of processing capacity per year.
These events led to significant market fluctuation and instability, and have consequently resulted in a need for many Local Authorities in the UK to identify and secure alternative markets to continue to recycle this material. In line with the waste disposal contract, in Hampshire, this is done by Veolia on behalf of the local authorities in Project Integra.
Recycling uses more energy than it saves SHOW
Using recycled materials to make new products consumes substantially less energy than using raw materials even when taking into account associated costs, such as transport.
More energy is required to extract, refine, transport and process raw materials ready for industry compared with providing industry-ready materials meaning there are extra energy savings.
Recycling cans and glass
Recycled glass is worse quality than other glass SHOW
Glass can be recycled endlessly without any loss of quality.
Do I have to wash cans and bottles before recycling? SHOW
If possible, please rinse out your cans and bottles which can be done in left over washing up water. In some countries like Sweden residents have to remove labels!
Rinsing out recyclables uses up more energy than the item being recycled SHOW
Washing up water is perfectly adequate for this so no additional water is needed.
Recycling metal uses more energy than extracting the raw material in the first place SHOW
Recycling aluminium cans saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make new cans from fresh raw material. The energy saved in not having to make just one aluminium can from scratch is enough to power a TV for three hours.
Every tonne of new aluminium made creates four tonnes of waste, whereas a tonne of recycled aluminium creates no waste.
There are lots of places that take cartons to be recycled in the UK SHOW
There is only one facility in the UK capable of recycling them, in Yorkshire, and that facility is not yet able to recycle 100% of a carton. For this reason, we ask that they are placed with your general waste. This gets delivered to an Energy Recovery Facility where it is burned to create electricity.