How we manage your waste
Find out what happens to your waste after it has been collected, download our waste strategy and find out how we are performing. More information on flytipping and how to report it.
The Journey of Recycling
Northumberland County Council is committed to recycling as much
waste as possible. From making new clothes, to generating energy we
want to make sure your waste isn’t wasted.
After collecting your recycling, we take your cans, paper,
plastic etc to the sorting plant at West Sleekburn in Ashington.
After their journey through the sorting process, experiencing the
power of the huge magnets and electrical currents, the materials
are off to make new products.
Step 1 - The materials are taken to a Waste Transfer Station, where they are tipped out, scooped up by a loading shovel and put into even larger lorries. These lorries then take the mixed cans, paper, card and plastic bottles to the sorting plant at West Sleekburn, Ashington.
Step 2: - Staff pick off the things that shouldn't be there like crisp packets, nappies, food waste, bits of metal and electrical items like pans and kettles. These things should not be put into our recycling bins.
Step 3: - Machines and magnets sort the remaining waste into different categories
Step 4: - The sorted cans, plastic bottles and cardboard then get pushed through a bailing machine which squashes these materials into separate bails (a bit like hay bails). They are then ready to be transported to different factories where they are made into new products that we can use again.
Step 5: - The cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard are taken to factories to be made into new products.
- Plastic bottles can be made into things like fleece jumpers and picnic benches.
- Paper can be made into recycled notepads, kitchen rolls and recycled toilet rolls.
- Cans can be made into new cans, bits for planes, cars and new things that we use at home like washing machines.
Download our step by step guide on ‘The journey of recycling’
Watch the media clip below to see how materials are sorted at the West Sleekburn recycling plant in South East Northumberland
Energy from Waste: Producing electricity from your
Waste which cannot be recycled or composted can often be used to
generate energy, heat and to collect residual materials for
90,000 tonnes of non-recycled household waste collected from
homes in Northumberland every year is now diverted from landfill
and transported instead to SITA UK’s EfW facility on Teesside
Emissions are continuously monitored and must comply with the rigorous demands of the European Waste Incineration Directive. Particles that are filtered out by the cleaning system are ultimately disposed of at a licensed, special waste disposal facility.
Did you know?
- The EfW process recovers energy in the form of electrical power and heat. 5.6MW of electricity is produced from Northumberland’s waste, which is sufficient to light and heat nearly 4,500 homes.
- EfW diverts waste from landfill, where the decomposition of waste would create Methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
- Recovery of energy from household waste means that less fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil need to be burned to generate our electricity - preserving these limited resources for future generations.
- The EfW process recovers valuable recyclable by-products, which might otherwise be landfilled. Metals are recovered and returned to scrap recycling and inert bottom ash is used in construction as a secondary aggregate.
Download our guide here on how energy can be produced from your rubbish
The Joint Municipal Waste Management
Strategy for Northumberland
The first important step to change the way in which we dealt
with our waste was the publication of the
Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy for Northumberland in
The document details the changes required to manage our waste inj a more sustainable way and to ensure that the European and UK Government targets are met. The seven local authorities and the Environment Agency worked together to agree the policies and recommendations which provide a framework for decision making until 2020.
The JMWMS concludes that it is necessary to use a range of options, including waste minimisation, recycling, composting, energy recovery and the limited use of landfill disposal. It was clear that there was a need to recover energy from the residual waste that could not be recycled or composted in order to divert waste from landfill, and that the JMWMS aims could not be achieved without the participation of residents.
The 7 local authorities immediately began to put the strategy’s policies into practice, by promoting waste minimisation and securing high levels of recycling and composting. The introduction of waste minimisation measures such as excluding commercial waste from the HWRCs through a permit scheme, promoting real nappies and advertising the Mail Preference Service contributed toward the curtailment of growth in waste arisings. Kerbside collections of comingled materials were expanded and the collection of garden waste at the kerbside was introduced. External funding permitted the redevelopment of the most under performing HWRCs, and internal revenue was secured to increase the number of HWRCs to thirteen.
Download the strategy here
Waste Private Finance Initiative
In 2006, Northumberland County Council signed up to a 28 year
waste Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with waste
management company SITA UK Ltd.
With the support of £40.8m in Government funding, an overhaul of the waste management infrastructure was made to ensure that at least 45% of waste in the county will be recycled, 47% will be used to generate electricity, and only 8% disposed of in landfill sites.
In order to meet these ambitious targets £90m investment was earmarked to:
- improve existing HWRCs and to develop new sites. The last site to be refurbished reopened in February 2009. The outdated HWRC adjacent to Ellington Road Landfill site was replaced with a brand new facility at North Seaton, Ashington.
- develop a new state of the art Materials Recycling Facility on land at West Sleekburn Industrial Estate.
- construct a new waste transfer station at the West Sleekburn site, to enable residual waste that cannot be recycled or composted to be bulked up, and delivered to an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility located on Teesside. The extension alone will produce around 10MW of electricity, which is enough power to supply the energy needs for around 12,000 homes.
The investment in Northumberland’s waste management infrastructure is already starting to deliver tangible benefits. The performance figures nine months into 2011/12 demonstrate that over 42% of household waste has been recycled, composted or reused, 98% of municipal waste has been diverted from landfill sites, and 77% of waste delivered to the HWRCs has been recovered. We are on track to achieve the stretch targets in the PFI contract, making Northumberland one of the top performing authorities in the country.
Further details about SITA UK and the work it does on behalf of Northumberland County Council can be found online here
The Environment Agency describes fly-tipping as the illegal
dumping of waste. It can cause a range of problems for people,
animals and the environment.
We encourage people to report fly-tipping as this helps us to
keep Northumberland clean. You can call us on 0845 6006400, or
report it online below:
Report a fly-tipping problem here
Report hazardous waste fly-tipping here
Please try to record as many details as possible so that the fly-tipping incident can be dealt with as efficiently as possible. For example, did you witness the fly tipping? Did you see any vehicles involved? What kind of items have been tipped? Remember, don’t try and move the items yourself as they could be hazardous.
The Environment Agency advises the following:
“Before you take action, make sure it's safe to do so. Be extremely careful. Some wastes can be hazardous. Do not open bags or drums. Piles of soil may be contaminated or they may be hiding dangerous material. Remember that fly-tippers are doing something illegal - they are unlikely to welcome people observing them or taking notes or photographs”
If fly-tipping is reported on land not within our control we will try to contact the land owner responsible
Did you know?
- It is estimated to cost £100-£150 million every year to investigate and clear up. The cost falls on taxpayers and private landowners.
- Fly-tipping poses a threat to humans and wildlife, damages our environment, and spoils our enjoyment of our towns and countryside.
- Areas subject to repeated fly-tipping may suffer declining property prices and local businesses may suffer as people stay away” (Environment Agency).
Please click here for further information on fly-tipping from the Environment Agency
- Use an Authorised Waste Carrier
It is possible to check whether or not the contractor you have hired is listed as an Authorised Waste Carrier. Please click here for further information on Authorised Waste Carriers from the Environment Agency. Once on this page, please click on Authorised Waste Carriers. Here you can check which contractors in your area are registered to carry waste. You can also ask your contractor for a waste carrier number.
- Use our Household Waste Recovery Centres
Northumberland householders can use one of 12 Household Waste Recovery Centres across the county to recycle and dispose of a wide range of materials.
Please note these centres are for waste from Northumberland householders only and some vehicles require a permit.
More information is available on the HWRC pages here.
- Use the hazardous household waste collection service
Please click here for further information on the hazardous household waste collection service for Northumberland residents