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We all try to do our bit to reduce our household waste and boost our recycling efforts, but some of our waste will inevitably end up in our ‘general waste’ bins. You can take measures to deal with your household waste responsibly when it is still within your control, but what about after it has been picked up by the refuse collection? What happens to your household waste once it’s left your premises?

Here’s our guide:

What happens to your general waste?

Taking steps to reduce your general waste is important, but just because it gets picked up by the bin men, doesn’t mean it all ends up in landfill. Sometimes, general waste can be incinerated to produce energy, while some other general waste can be processed and used to generate solid fuel. However, much of the general waste that we throw away in our wheelie bins does end up in landfill.

A little more about landfill

You may think that sending waste to landfill means it is simply dumped in a pile of waste that is left to rot. However, there is a little more to it than that. Modern landfill sites are closely engineered and managed to ensure they do not cause pollution to land, air or waterways.

Landfill sites are closely monitored for around 50 years after they stop accepting waste to ensure they remain safe.

When waste arrives at a landfill site, it is compacted and covered in materials, such as soil, that help to reduce odours and vermin. Gas is also collected and used to generate energy that is transferred to the National Grid and the leachate (think bin juice but on a major scale) is treated and returned to the water course when it is safe.

The trouble with landfill is that it does still produce large quantities of methane and other dangerous greenhouse gases. It also costs councils a lot of money to send rubbish to landfill sites, so we should all be doing our bit to keep our waste out of landfill wherever possible.

Doing your bit

Despite the tight management of landfill sites, it’s important to limit the amount of waste that gets sent there, as it’s still far less preferable, from an environmental perspective, than recycling. If you have larger items of either household waste or commercial waste that you want to keep out of landfill, consider taking advantage of our wait and load service, or our simple skip hire service, both of which will allow you to responsibly dispose of larger items of household waste that would otherwise end up in landfill.

When we pick up your larger household waste items, we make every effort to recycle as much as possible. Last year, 92 per cent of the waste we handled avoided landfill and this is because of the vast array of recycling options available to us through our work with the Environmental Agency, which helps us dispose of your waste responsibly.

Pia Subramaniam

27th November 2019

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