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Waste and recycling information

  • Which materials are accepted at Recycling & Household Waste Sites

  • What happens during the recycling process

  • End Destination of Recycling Charter

Leicestershire County Council has signed the End Destination of Recycling Charter which is a voluntary commitment to transparency through the publication of comprehensive information about the end destination of materials collected for recycling.
This table shows the latest information we hold. We seek to provide details of the reprocessors and the end products when these become available.
Plastics, Metals, Textiles, Cardboard and paper, Cartons, Glass, Garden waste, Household batteries
Electrical, Car batteries & oil, Wood, Cooking oil Paint, Household waste, Asbestos, Hardcore & rubble Plasterboard Spectacles
Did you know that all types of household electrical items can be recycled? has lots of interesting information about recycling electrical items, including which retailers are taking part in the "take back" scheme
plastic bottles
Fizzy drink bottles, milk bottles, shampoo bottles, any bottles made of PET (usually has a code 1 printed on base of bottle) or HDPE (usually has a code 2 printed on base of bottle).
Bottles made from PET  (polyethylene terephthalate) are shredded into flakes and made into fibres. This is then used to make items like fleece clothing, duvets, pillows and fillings for anoraks.
HDPE  (high-density polyethylene) bottles are flaked or pelleted. These are sent to factories and made into drainage pipes, wheelie bins, compost bins, kerbside collection boxes or plastic wood garden furniture.
New technology is also being developed to enable old bottles to be made into new bottles.
Any hard plastics such as plastic toys, plastic furniture, drainpipes etc.  Any "soft" plastic items like food trays, yoghurt pots and margarine tubs should also be placed in this container for recycling (not applicable at Whetstone, which takes rigid plastics ONLY).  No electrical items, polystyrene, plastic bags, plastic wrapping or metal.
Plastics must be sorted prior to mechanical recycling. At the moment in the UK most sorting for mechanical recycling is done by trained staff who manually sort the plastics into polymer type and/or colour. Technology is being introduced to sort plastics automatically, using various techniques such as X-rays. Following sorting, the plastic is either melted down directly and moulded into a new shape, or melted down after being shredded into flakes and then processed into granules called regranulate, which can be used in the production of hard plastic items such as garden furniture, wheelie bins, compost bins and drainage pipes.
tapes and discs
Any type of video, cassette or CD.
Ask site staff about recycling these items as they need to be placed in a special container.
Tapes and CD's and their packaging are broken down into their constituent parts and recycled in their individual material streams e.g. cardboard.  The plastic is recycled and manufactured in the production of burglar alarms and street lighting.
spectacles icon
Any type of spectacles and sunglasses, with or without lenses.
Spectacles are collected on-site and delivered to a local Specsavers opticians for Vision Aid overseas (a charity dedicated to assisting people with sight problems in developing countries).
scrap metal
All types of metal including iron, steel, aluminium, copper etc.  This includes metal with plastic attached, for example cooking pots and gas cookers.  No gas bottles, oil drums, engines, batteries or fridges.
Metals can be recycled indefinitely without losing any of their properties. All types of metal can be recycled even if there is some plastic or wood attached, examples include cooking pots, washing machines and ironing boards. Many objects contain valuable metals, such as copper, zinc and magnesium that have great reuse value. Millions of tonnes of scrap metal per year are recovered by processors and consumed by secondary smelters, refiners, ingot makers, fabricators, foundries and other industries.
food and drink tins and cans
All types of clean food and drink tins and cans are accepted for recycling.  No oil drums.
Cans are sorted, baled and taken for crushing into large blocks, and sometimes shredded for reprocessing. Melting removes all inks and coatings before metal is made into blocks (ingots), which can be huge, 2 x 8 metres and 60cm thick, and weigh as much as 20 tonnes. Each one contains about 1.6 million drinks cans. Ingots are sent to mills where they are rolled into sheets from 0.006mm to 250mm gauge. This rolling adds strength to the pure aluminium which is then used to manufacture new aluminium products such as car parts and cans.
aluminium foil
Aluminium foil includes any type of clean aluminium foil such as food trays, cooking foil, pet food containers and take-away food containers.  No tins or plastic wrapping.
Foil is recycled separately from cans because it is made from a slightly different alloy of metal. It is similar to the aluminium can process, without the de-coating or shredding. Ingots are much smaller, about a metre long, from which more foil is made, or a range of products such as light-weight car parts.
clothes and textiles
All clothes, blankets, handbags and paired shoes can be recycled at RHWS's.  No pillows, quilts or other waste are acceptable.
Wearable textiles and shoes are sorted and sent mainly to countries in the developing world. Specialist textile recyclers can sort textiles into about 140 different grades. In woollen garments, the fibre is reclaimed to make yarn or fabric. Cotton and silk is reclaimed to make wiping cloths for a range of industries such as automotive and paper manufacture. The remaining textiles are sold to the flocking industry where the items are shredded to make fillers for furniture padding, roofing felts and car insulation.
All types of cardboard are acceptable including cereal packets, boxes, cartons and corrugated card.  No paper, magazines, plastic or polystyrene.
Cardboard is taken to the paper mill for recycling where it is pulped and the new material is then used in the production of new cardboard. A variety of card packaging types can then be produced such as boxes, brown paper and corrugated materials.
Any type of paper is acceptable such as newspapers, envelopes, magazines, junk mail and leaflets.  No cardboard or plastic wrapping
Paper is taken to the paper mill and mixed with wood pulp. Machinery breaks up the fibres and the resultant liquid passes through a de-inking process. The pulp is then screened, cleaned and enters a papermaking machine where excess water is pressed out and paper sheets are made. The paper is now ready to be printed on. This paper is used to make newsprint, although other uses include computer paper, toilet paper and note pads.
glass bottles and jars
Glass bottles and jars only.  No Pyrex, crockery or sheet glass.
Glass can be used in the production of new glass bottles. Recycling glass into new containers has four environmental benefits – energy saving, lower emissions, reduced landfill and a reduction in quarrying.  Excess green glass is used for aggregate in the construction industry and in the new road material ‘glasphalt’.
The glass has to go through several processes to be recycled, from visual checks to high-tech laser separation to remove stones and ceramics.  Once the glass is thoroughly cleaned it has a final visual check before it can be transported to the glass factory ready to be made into new glass containers.
garden waste
Any type of garden waste such as tree prunings, grass cuttings, leaves, shrubs, plants and small trees are acceptable
Please do not bring any garden waste to the RHWS where ash die back disease is suspected.  If you think you have trees affected by ash die back, please contact Defra on 08459 33 55 77.
For information about the plant pathogen causing the ash tree disease, please visit, or follow the link: . This link contains a pictorial guide to identify any affected ash tree.
For updates and recommendations about composting infected ash trees visit AfOR’s web site
Garden waste is taken to one of several composting sites where it is shredded and arranged into windrows (large toblerone shaped heaps about 3m high and 10m long). The heaps are turned regularly to allow aerobic digestion, and after 12 to16 weeks the compost is ready. It is then screened to remove large particles (which are put through the process again) and used for land improvement or bagged ready to be sold at garden centres and Leicestershire’s Recycling and Household Waste Sites.
household batteries
Any type of cell battery is acceptable including lithium and mobile phone batteries.
Batteries contain a range of metals.  Batteries collected for recycling are separated into plastics, acid and metals. The metals are then cleaned and processed through heat treatment which allows the various types of metals contained within the battery to be recovered.
fluorescent tubes
low energy bulbs
Any fluorescent tubes and energy saving light bulbs.  No other type of light bulbs are acceptable for recycling at RHWS's.
Ask staff on-site for information about recycling these as the bulbs need to be placed in a separate container.
The light tubes collected are taken to a licensed processing site to be safely treated. The mercury and phosphor powder are separated and collected for recovery, as are the glass and aluminium end caps, and other components that contain copper. The glass is then taken to a glass company to be processed back into bottles.
fridges & freezers
All types of domestic fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers can be deposited for recycling at Recycling & Household Waste Sites.
Recycling and Household Waste Sites in Leicestershire will continue to take domestic fridges and freezers delivered by householders. They are processed using the appropriate equipment and recycled without releasing harmful gases into the environmment.
mobile phones
All mobile phones are accepted either with or without battery and charger.
If mobile phones are of a suitable quality they can be re-used, otherwise they will be broken down into their separate components for recycling.
small electrical appliances
Microwaves, vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, hi-fi's, music systems, electrical DIY and garden equipment, and any other type of small electrical equipment can be deposited at RHWS for recycling.
After checking for hazardous components, the mechanical processing is applied. In this process, ferrous and aluminium material is initially separated. This is followed by the separation of the copper based concentrate in which all precious and other non-ferrous metals are present. During the initial and the final stages of the process plastics are also separated from the metal fractions. These plastics are then sent for recycling which upgrades the plastic into separate groups of polymers with sustainable markets; allowing recycling and recovery across the different Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment categories.
white goods
Washing machines, electric and gas cookers, dishwashers and tumble dryers.  No fridges, TV's or scrap metal.
After checking for hazardous components, the mechanical processing is applied. In this process, ferrous and aluminium material is initially separated. This is followed by the separation of the copper based concentrate in which all precious and other non-ferrous metals are present. During the initial and the final stages of the process plastics are also separated from the metal fractions. These plastics are then sent for recycling which upgrades the plastic into separate groups of polymers with sustainable markets; allowing recycling and recovery across the different Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment categories.
tvs and monitors
Any type of TV or monitor including plasma and LCD.
After undergoing visual and electronic testing the units are disassembled and processed.  Plastic, wood, metal and glass components are separated and recycled to re-enter manufacturing process as raw materials.
The CRTs (Cathode ray tubes) are then sent down dedicated lines that break the tube down and separate a mixed leaded/unleaded glass cullet (pieces of broken glass) free from metallic and organic contaminants.  This material is then reprocessed to manufacture new CRTs.
car batteries
All types of car battery can be deposited at RHWS's for recycling.
Car batteries contain lead acid, they are separated and treated the same way as household batteries.
engine oil
Used engine oil only.  No cooking or vegetable oil.
The oil is tested for quality, metal content and PCB's (PCB's are carcinogenic organic compounds).  It is rare to find PCB's in oil but the company must provide a PCB free analysis sheet.  When being processed the oil is heated and large particles are reduced in a shake and filtration system, followed by centrifuging for purification and clarification.  Refined oil is used by steel works as start up fuel.  The steel works depot uses approximately 70-80 tonnes of start-up fuel per hour.
Chipboard, kitchen units, flat packed furniture, and MDF can all be recycled.
Chipboard is biodegradable so will contribute to green house gas production if allowed to rot in landfill sites. Chipboard can be used as mulch to prevent soil erosion and a composting agent to improve airflow and decomposition.
Solid wood, fencing, floorboards, sheds, chipboard and MDF can all be recycled.  No green waste, laminates or trees.
Wood is biodegradable so will contribute to green house gas production if allowed to rot in landfill sites. Wood can be used as mulch to prevent soil erosion, as a composting agent to improve airflow and decomposition, for pet bedding or shredded and used in the manufacture of chipboard.
cooking oil
Vegetable and cooking oil is collected on site to be recycled to make bio-diesel.
The oil is filtered to reduce the size of large particles and then goes to a micro-brewery where glycerol is removed from the oil and replaced with methanol.  This mixture goes through filtration again and then is ready to be used as bio-diesel.
Please note that only the Recycling and Household Waste Site at Whetstone can accept household liquid paint.  Only paint tins which are half full or more are suitable for the paint reuse scheme, all other quantities are sent for treatment.
At present the paint collected is sorted and made ready for re-use before being collected by charities and other organisations in need of paint.
All types of Gypsum and plasterboard are acceptable.  Please remove any other materials such as concrete, metal and wood.
This recycled material is used in the production of cement.
Any plasterboard or Gypsum products disposed of at CA Sites will need to be placed in a specific container.  Please ask site staff for more details.
non-recyclable household waste
Any materials that cannot be recycled.
Everything disposed of in this container will be sent to landfill and not recycled. Waste that is sent to landfill breaks down and can produce a toxic liquid and methane gas, which contributes to global warming.
With increasing waste produced each year, existing landfills are rapidly filling up. Recycling of materials reduces the need for new and ever larger landfill facilities. Help protect the environment – only throw away materials that cannot be recycled or re-used.
cement bonded asbestos icon
Cement bonded asbestos only, for example drainpipes, sheds or garages, corrugated asbestos roofing sheets. All attachments such as wood or metal must be removed please. Small pieces of asbestos should be bagged in clear plastic bags (available from builder's merchants and DIY shops) before taking to the RHWS.  
Larger pieces and sheets do not require sheeting but if you choose to do so clear plastic should be used.
There is a limit on how much asbestos can be taken to the RHWS in any 12 month period - 25 sheets or bags or a combination of both, 10 lengths of guttering or 1 water tank. No other types of asbestos can be accepted at the sites.
When on-site ready to desposit your asbestos ask staff for the location of the asbestos bin.
Please be aware that asbestos is only accepted at Coalville, Kibworth, Melton Mowbray, Mountsorrel and Whetstone. A permit will need to be obtained to dispose of asbestos, please contact 0116 305 0001 or visit the Leicestershire County Council website to apply for a permit online.
Asbestos is a hazardous substance and needs to be treated with care. After collection from the RHWS it is disposed of in a hazardous landfill site.
hardcore and rubble
flat glass
Hardcore and rubble are deemed as construction waste by both the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992.  This includes bricks, turf, soil, paving slabs, ceramics and tiles, in fact any waste that comes from home improvement, repairs or alteration.  
As this type of waste is not legally defined as household, CA Sites in Leicestershire can only accept a limited amount of six bags (around 25kg per bag) per six months for each householder.
Items that were previously fitted to the property are limited to four items per 6 months for each category (i.e. 4 x doors, 4 x windows, 4 x radiators, 4 x fitted units). Bathroom suites and fitted kitchens are limited to one of each per 6 months.
No plastic bags, asbestos, drainage pipes, wood or plaster board should be included in this type of waste.
From April 1st 2009 the rules have changed on plasterboard waste.  Any plasterboard or Gypsum products disposed of at CA Sites will need to be placed in a specific container.  Please ask site staff for more details.
Hardcore, rubble and flat glass (such as window panes, mirrors, fish tanks) received at RHWS's is sent to landfill, where it is used to form a protective cover to prevent landfilled waste blowing away and creating litter.
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Barwell Bottesford Coalville Kibworth Loughborough Lount Lutterworth Market Harborough Melton Mowbray Oadby Mountsorrel Shepshed Somerby Whetstone

Page Last Updated: 26 November 2012