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Waste composition – Sort It recycling centres

In May 2015 Resource Futures, on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council, completed a compositional analysis of 1,779kg of mixed bagged waste from Mangotsfield, Thornbury and Yate Sort It recycling centres. The waste was collected, weighed and then sorted by hand into different categories.

Figure 7: Residual waste from Sort It recycling centres

Chart showing Residual waste from Sort It recycling centres

The results highlighted that over 75 percent of waste disposed of in bags at the Sort It recycling centres could have been recycled.

The largest portion of waste was miscellaneous and included DIY and renovation waste (4 percent), nappies (3.1 percent) and re-useable items (3.1 percent).

As with the residual waste collected at the kerbside, biodegradable waste made up a large portion of the bagged waste with 16.9 percent food waste and 5 percent garden waste.

Plastic made up around 16.2 percent, again similar to the kerbside analysis. Paper and cardboard were higher at the Sort It recycling centres at 17.7 percent compared to 13 percent on the kerbside. Textiles and shoes were also higher at 13.4 percent.

The mixed bagged waste at the Sort It recycling centres is likely to be produced by two main household sources.

  1. High levels of general household and biodegradable waste suggest that many of the bags come from kitchen bins
  2. Levels of textiles, clothes, shoes, paper and jumble sale items are likely to come from clearing out activities.


Relevance to the strategy

The findings of the compositional analysis from the Sort It recycling centres has been used to change practices at the centres. We no longer accept unsorted black bag waste and residents will be asked to sort recyclables out before visiting the sites. This supports the strategy by providing a consistent approach to recycling.