What happens to your waste and recycling
We have signed up to the End Destinations Charter which is a national initiative to improve awareness and transparency of where waste and recycling from households ends up and what happens to it.
Our charter is updated every year once we have received all of the information from our contractor SUEZ.
We are currently working on updating our interactive map to show where waste and recycling ended up in 2019/20.
The Sankey diagram below gives information about where and how our waste and recycling is processed. If you require an accessible version of this diagram, let us know via the contact link on this page.
Choose ‘South Gloucestershire’ in the bottom right of the diagram key to see where our waste goes.Download our 2019 -2020 End Destinations Charter
Copies of previous years are available in the downloads section.
Recyclable materials are a resource, not a waste
The waste and recycling we collect from households is a resource with a value and a global market. There is demand for certain materials from manufacturers who turn them into new products which means that the quality of the recycling we collect is very important.
To make sure that we meet waste regulations and quality standards, the council and SUEZ carry out regular checks of any companies that process our waste and recycling under the contract. In addition, the Environment Agency monitors any material that leaves the UK.
Being mindful of how we transport waste
With so many different types of waste being sent to a range of destinations, it’s important to minimise transportation costs and the number of vehicles needed to carry it.
Our transfer stations next to the Sort It recycling centres at Yate and Mangotsfield are delivery points for our collection vehicles and waste from our other recycling centres. From here the different materials are loaded onto articulated lorries and transported to recycling, energy or disposal facilities.
Find out what happens to the different types of waste and recycling
Food waste is sent to Bristol to be processed into a nutrient rich fertiliser and generate electricity.
Watch a short video to find out how food waste is recycled.
Electrical items up to the size of the green box are recycled in the West Midlands and Bristol.
Watch a short video to find out how electrical items are recycled.
Glass (clear and coloured) is sent to Yorkshire and Essex for recycling. Mixed glass from communal recycling bins for flats is sent to Avonmouth, Bristol and Cwmbran in Wales.
Watch a short video to find out how glass bottles and jars are recycled.
Cans, aerosols and foil are collected mixed with plastics. They are sent to Avonmouth to be sorted and then transported off to be recycled.
Watch a short video to find out how cans are recycled.
Plastic is sent for sorting and recycling in Gloucestershire, Bristol, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Manchester, Bedfordshire and Leicestershire.
Watch a short video to find out how plastics are recycled.
Paper is sent to Kent and Flintshire to be turned into newspaper.
Cardboard and cartons go through a similar process to be recycled into new cardboard packaging.
Watch a short video to find out how paper is recycled.
Garden waste is sent to Wiltshire to be composted.
Watch a short video to find out how garden waste is recycled.
We recycle as much as possible and try to avoid landfill wherever we can. Treating this waste as a resource means we can make good use of most of it as energy or a soil conditioner, reducing our impact on the environment and the cost of using landfill.
Audit of black bin waste
Every year we analyse a random sample of black bins from across the district, to find out how the waste we throw away has changed. The last audit revealed that 26% of the black bin contents is food waste which could have been recycled.
West of England Waste Partnership
South Gloucestershire, with Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and North Somerset councils (the West of England Partnership), is committed to sustainable, efficient and cost-effective ways of dealing with residual waste which cannot be recycled or composted. This is because sending waste to landfill is not an environmentally or financially sustainable option.
Modern waste management methods provide us with better ways of dealing with residual waste and we can recover some value from the waste we throw away.
A jointly produced waste strategy has been adopted by all four West of England councils which sets out a plan to deal with waste in the region. This is currently being updated and will be published once agreed by the partnership.
Each West of England council also has its own waste strategy in place. Read our Waste Strategy 2015-2020 and have your say on the Resource and Waste Strategy: 2020 and Beyond on our consultation website.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
All four councils will co-operate to develop a rolling programme of joint waste prevention, education and promotional campaigns to reduce waste, encourage re-use and increase recycling and composting. In addition, each of the councils will individually improve its local services and have committed to increase public participation in recycling and re-use initiatives.
Waste treatment contract
Working in partnership, the four councils have contracts to treat a total of 170,000 tonnes of household kerbside residual waste per year and 45,500 tonnes bulky waste per year, including waste from recycling centres. This reduces the amount of household residual waste sent for landfill disposal by at least 90%, and bulky waste (brought to the Sort It recycling centres) by at least 80%.
The main contract is with Viridor for 120,000 tonnes to be sent to their Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Avonmouth. Waste is processed through the facility, and metals and all solid biproducts are sent for recycling or recovery, with a very small amount of unprocessed waste sent for disposal. The site can generate enough energy to power about 120,000 homes. The delivery of this waste started in June 2020.
The secondary contract was awarded to SUEZ Recycling and Recovery for 50,000 tonnes to be sent to their Severnside Energy Recovery Centre (SERC) in Avonmouth. The SERC processes the waste for energy, removing metals and biproducts for recycling or recovery, with a very small amount of unprocessed waste sent for disposal. The delivery of this waste started in April 2020.
The bulky waste (furniture etc.) contract was awarded to ETM Recycling for 45,500 tonnes to be sent to their processing site in Ashton Vale. Here, waste is sorted and processed to remove all recyclable materials, which are then sent for recycling and recovery. The leftover waste is sent for disposal via energy recovery or landfill. This contract is a significant milestone for recycling and recovery of bulky waste in the region, as it means that waste which was previously untreatable and sent to landfill is now being recovered and recycled as much as possible. The delivery of this waste started in April 2020.