Rugby FoE > Local Campaigns > Waste Recycling

Recycling Rubbish:

On average in the UK -

Recycling Saves Energy:

As well as recycling preserving the natural resources themselves, the energy savings are a very important environmental benefit of recycling, because it reduces energy needs for extraction, refining, transportation and many other manufacturing and processing aspects. Energy requires the consumption of scarce fossil fuels and involves emissions of numerous air and water pollutants. The steps in supplying recycled materials to industry (including collection, processing and transportation) typically use less energy than the steps in supplying virgin materials to industry. Energy Savings from recycling are as follows;

Rugby Red Box Collections:

So what happened to the material we put out for recycling in Rugby prior to the Blue Top bins?

They were collected "source-separated" in five compartments, three of which were for glass, which was mainly colour seperated:

  1. Cans (mixed as steel and aluminium)
  2. Paper products (newspapers, magazines, envelopes etc.)
  3. Green glass
  4. Clear glass
  5. Brown glass

2007-08 ...

  • Over 3,000 tonnes of paper collected locally were sent to Newport Paper for sorting and grading before being sent on to other mills for reprocessing.
  • Over 1,800 tonnes of bottles and jars collected locally were stored and transported to West Yorkshire to be recycled.
    • Up to 90% recycled glass is mixed with the virgin raw materials and remelted to become pure and pristine again and cut into "gobs". The gobs are fired down into the forming machine, pressed and blown into a mould, emerging within seconds as a glas bottle or jar
  • Over 200 tonnes of mixed cans collected locally were transported to Alutrade in Oldbury to be seperated magnetically, decoated, shredded and melted.
    • The steel element is sent to Corus where it is melted into ingots for use in steel manufacturing.
    • An aluminium drinks can can go through the recycling process and be back on a supermarket shelf in as little as six weeks.
  • Over 80 tonnes of plastic bottles collected locally were transported to Jayplas Depot in Loughborough where they were sorted into seperate polymers prior to reprocessing (washed, chopped, melted into beads and sold onto manufacturers). 20,000 2-litre drinks bottles make a tonne, so this equates to 1.6 million plastic bottles collected locally.
    • Beads from shampoo and milk bottles are meted then cast into guttering, plant pots and the like.
    • Beads from pop bottles beads are spun into a fine thread and mixed with cotton to produce a yarn used in fleeces and carpets. About 25 two-litre plastic pop bottles can be used to make one adult sized recycled fleece jacket or pullover. About 15 will produce a fleece vest.

Up to 2008 in Rugby it was not possible to use this method to collect cardboard or plastic bottles from the kerbside without an additional fleet. Papers were only recycled into newsprint, which restricted the types of paper that could be collected.

In June 2007 Rugby Borough Council commissioned BMG Research to undertake a postal survey of 10,000 residents and 3,068 usable questionnaires were returned, of which over 60% said they would be encouraged to do more if it were easier.

Improvements for 2008-09:

Since April 2008 the council were able to collect a wider range of papers from both the red box kerbside collection and the neighbourhood recycling centres as a result of a new long term contract with Newport paper.

The red boxes were now able to accept the following wider range of materials:

  • Paper: Newspapers, Magazines, Envelopes (both brown and window), Direct mail, Greeting cards, Wrapping paper, Yellow Pages, Catalogues, Other telephone directories, Flattened card food packaging (e.g. cereal boxes), Small pieces of cardboard and Shredded paper (wrapped in newspaper).
  • Glass: Bottles and Jars.
  • Metal: Food and drink cans, Aerosols, Foil, Sweet tins and Biscuit tins.

N.B. In order to load them onto the collection vehicles they had to fit within the confines of the Red box. If you had any larger quantities (e.g. of cardboard) that need to be recycled you could take them to Hunters Lane Household Recycling Centre which had now re-opened.

Improvements for 2009-10:

Since April 2009 the council are now able to collect a wider range of refuse from the three bin scheme as a result of a new contract with Pure Recycling. However, this has had its problems with their sorting facilities. You can give the council feedback what you think about this three bin recycling scheme. You might want to refer back to the 2007 survey first.

Incinerators versus Recycling of Rubbish:

We should be prioritising recycling and waste reduction against incineration or landfill i.e. stop building incinerators. Incineration of waste accelerates climate change and pollutes yet still leads to landfill, actively competes with recycling and is a barrier to waste prevention. Instead of our waste going up in flames we should all make recycling easier. Most of the stuff that currently ends up in incinerators and landfill can be used again. Possibilities that have been suggested for the future locally include;

Photo of Hunters Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre taken by FG Photo of Hunters Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre sign taken by FG Photo of Hunters Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre taken by FG

Hunters Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre re-opened in March 2008 following its total refurbishment and, in addition to the items accepted by the red boxes, still also accepts plastic bottles, scrap metal, batteries and used engine oil as well as electrical items such as printer cartridges, mobile phones, TVs & monitors, flourescent tubes and fridges & freezers. It also accepts garden waste, wood & timber and is now home to a charity Re-Use Shop run by Age Concern Warwickshire which you can contact directly on 01788 567484.

N.B. Different services, such as green garden waste kerbside collections, are provided in different areas, so if you require any further details as to what is currently happening in your area then please do not hesitate to contact Rugby Borough Council on 01788 533533.
We also welcome your comments and contributions to our website. Please tell us what is collected in your area (Send in your comments by email to the editor).

Rugby Green Bins:

So what happens to the green waste we put out in the green bins in Rugby?

This year (2008/09)...

  • The contents of Rugby's green wheelie bins are first taken to sites at Kilsby and Bubbenhall, but currently this gets contaminated with cardboard and other stuff when it is mixed with green bins from other Authorities and so is marketed as 'agricultural' quality, but not 'horticultural' quality.
  • It is not really suitable for home gardeners as it is in such big quantities and poor quality, so generally speaking, it is spread onto agricultural land in the county.
  • However, garden waste from Coventry and Rugby is recycled into mature screened compost, so if you are prepared to take delivery of half a tonne at a time, dumped on the road or in your drive by a big lorry (and shift it yourself), you can buy it from Brinklow Quarry - or you can take a trailer there yourself and pick it up much cheaper.

Improvements planned for next year (2009 on):

From April 2009 Rugby Council intends to send the contents of the green wheelie bins together with kitchen food waste to a new "In Vessel Composting Facility" and once tried and tested their aim is to provide a usable compost for both horticultural and agricultural use.

Getting started with composting

By Carrie of Home on the Hill

Maybe you already make compost in one of those dalek bins from the council, but never seem to get any out of it? Maybe you're a new vegetable grower and need to know how to make compost for the first time. Well, read on...
it's not really that complicated; just ask yourself the following three simple questions:

  1. Where do I make it?
  2. What can be composted?
  3. How do I do it?

Questions to ask before you start:


In a bin?
You may think that the first thing you need to do is buy a bin. Well, you don't need a bin. You can just make a pile of compost materials in a quiet corner of the garden or allotment; but it doesn't look very tidy and can be had to manage. You can improvise a bin from scrap wood or old pallets. If you have lots of space, build an open compost bay from straw bales. Or get a bin from the local council, garden centre or Freecycle/Freegle. For best results, you need your bin or heap to be at least 1 cubic metre in volume (that's a metre high by a metre wide by a metre deep). Most commercially available bins are at least this volume, but do bear it in mind if building your own.

On what?
If possible, stand the bin on bare earth or grass; this will allow all the organisms that are part of the composting process easy access. But if this is impossible, don't worry as they always seem to get there somehow. If placing a bin on hard-standing, be prepared to hose the area down quite regularly as fluids will leak from the bottom of the bin; this is normal and nothing to worry about, but can be messy and unsightly.

If you have a rat problem in your garden, you may wish to stand the bin on chicken wire to prevent them gaining access. A well-managed compost system will not attract rats, but if there are already rats in the area, they will visit it. For more on rats, see the troubleshooting section.


In theory, anything that was once living can be composted. But in practice, some restrictions are necessary to prevent rodent and disease problems.

  • Don't compost: meat; fish; bread; anything cooked e.g. pasta, rice; dairy produce; cat and dog faeces; dirty nappies.
  • Greens and browns: good compost is a mix of nitrogen-rich materials (called greens) and carbon-rich materials (called browns). You need about half of each; so for each bucket full of greens you add to your heap, you need to balance it with a bucket full of browns. Too much of either will lead to problems - see the troubleshooting section below.
    • Greens: some examples of nitrogen-rich green materials are grass clippings; raw vegetable waste from your kitchen; comfrey leaves; green prunings; urine; poultry manure; manure from any vegetarian pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs.
    • Browns: some examples of carbon-rich brown materials are twiggy prunings; dead annual plants in autumn; straw and wood shavings; cardboard; paper.
  • Fallen leaves: if you only have a few leaves falling on your space in autumn then these can be added to your compost and count as a brown material. However, once you have enough to fill a black bin liner then these should be processed separately into leaf mould. Stab a few holes in the bin liner with a garden fork. If the leaves are dry, add some urine, water or a large handful of grass clippings. Mix well and store in a quiet corner for at least a year to produce a wonderful mulching material and free seed compost.


A common situation is to obtain a dalek bin from the council and start adding materials. The bin never seems to fill up and you never collect any compost. What you need to do is stop adding materials at some point and leave well alone for around 12-18 months. You should then be able to harvest usable compost. Meanwhile, buy or build a new bin and start again. However, this system is slow and you will need at least 2 bins although 3 is better.

You may have heard or read articles telling you to turn your compost regularly. Compost can be made in as little as 6 weeks in summer if it is turned regularly, but not many people have the time for this intensive system.
It's okay to adopt a hybrid method. Once you have decided to stop filling your bin, turn all the contents into a new bin or space. Water it thoroughly and cover. Leave this is mature for about a year. If you have the inclination to turn it again in this time, go ahead. Each turning will speed things up a little.

Tumblers: you may have seen these expensive bins in some catalogues. They do work really well and if you get the green/brown balance right they make excellent compost very quickly.

Hints and tips

  • Mix ingredients well: try especially to avoid lumps of grass clippings and shredded paper.
  • Compost needs water: it should be the wetness of a wrung-out sponge.
  • Keep your heap covered: this will keep moisture in and prevent rain washing all the nutrients out.
  • Compost bins do not need holes in the sides. Air can easily penetrate a properly made compost heap. If you have a bin with holes in the sides, or want to make one from pallets, line the bin with cardboard to help insulate it.
  • Try to avoid adding weed seeds, the roots of perennial weeds, and any plants with soil-borne diseases such as clubroot and onion white rot. Luckily, most plant diseases are air-borne and do not cause a problem. But if in doubt, leave it out!
  • Once you have some compost, make sure to use it; apply it to your ground before growing 'hungry' crops such as potatoes and the cabbage family. It can also be mixed with multi-purpose compost from the garden centre to add extra nutrients for crops in pots such as tomatoes and cucumbers. Use about a third home-made compost to two-thirds bought-in.

Photo of compost bay taken by CP Photo of compost heap taken by CP


Further help and support

Both Garden Organic and the RHS run advice services for members and will be happy to answer composting queries. Garden Organic have some useful composting advice available to non-members. WRAP also have a very useful home composting site.

Recycling Saves Resources:

As well as the energy savings, recycling preserves the natural resources themselves, as follows;

Further Information  
Newport Paper - is based in Newport, Shropshire. Their NEW MATERIALS RECOVERY FACILITY (MRF) is located near Thetford, Norfolk. Its capacity "should increase to 75,000 tonnes by 2008".
Alutrade Ltd. - Oldbury based aluminium recycler, Alutrade Ltd. was established in 1986 primarily as an aluminium extrusion recycler. Alutrade is now one of the largest recyclers of aluminium extrusion scrap in the UK. Its 17 vehicle fleet operates from a 100,000 square foot factory in Birmingham and offer a 24-hour free collection service throughout the UK.
Jayplas - J & A Young ( Leicester ) Ltd. was established in 1975 and has since grown to be the United Kingdom's largest plastic recycler. Jayplas Re-cycling of Cotton Way Loughborough prides itself on its fleet of Volvo FH12 dedicated haulage for plastic sorting and recycling.
'Recycle for Essex' Facts and stats. - the one-stop-shop website "for all your recycling needs"
"Too Good To Throw Away" - report published by the US Natural Resources Defense Council in February 1997.
"In Vessel Composting Facility" - The term 'in-vessel composting' is used to cover a wide range of composting systems all of which feature the enclosed composting of waste, therefore allowing a higher degree of process control than is possible with windrow composting. In-vessel systems can be broadly categorised into five types: containers, silos, agitated bays, tunnels and enclosed hall.

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