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Frequently asked questions about recycling and rubbish

Find out answers to the most common questions we get asked about recycling, bins, litter and flytipping.

Why do we have to separate recycling into different bags? Why can't we have one bag for all recycling?

Collecting materials separately helps ensure high quality for recycling, which means less is lost through contamination and that more of it can be recycled in the UK. It is also in line with the advised approach for all of Wales set out by Welsh Government.
 
The vehicles collecting your recycling have different compartments for the different materials, and our collection crews will place your recycling directly into the correct compartments.

Is recycling compulsory for a resident? 

Yes, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 enables the council to say what materials are or are not permitted in certain containers, including black bags. When these requirements are confirmed by the issuing of a notice, not complying with the notice can lead to a fine or prosecution, however this would only be used as a last resort for those refusing to recycle.

What happens if someone dumps black bags outside my property?

If this has happened then please report it to us. This act is classed as flytipping and the offender could face enforcement action.

Why can't we have wheeled bins?

Some people love them, and some people hate them but the type of housing and hilly landscape across Swansea mean only a small proportion of properties would be suitable for wheeled bins and so they cannot be used for domestic waste collections.

What happens to recycling materials after kerbside collection?

After collection materials are first taken to our waste transfer station in Swansea Enterprise Park. Here they are bulked up and partially sorted and in some cases compacted into large bales. The processed materials are then collected by lorries and transported to different facilities to be reprocessed into new products. The vast majority of the materials collected in Swansea are recycled in Wales or the UK. You can find further details on exact end destinations for different materials at My Recycling Wales

Why don't you collect soft plastics?

Plastic recycling companies don't accept soft plastic items including carrier bags, film and wrappers from councils. This is because many soft plastic items are not easily recycled and when they're mixed with rigid items like bottles, tubs and trays they are extremely difficult to separate as required to recycle them. 

Soft plastics should go in your black bags for kerbside collection only, or you can now take many of these items with you to the supermarket to recycle instead - Wales Recycles - recycling locator.

Why do some litter bins or dog fouling bins get removed?

Some bins get regularly misused by 'persons unknown' filling them up with household/domestic/trade waste etc. When this occurs bins cease to be used as intended and, in some instances, their continual emptying is not sustainable.

Where bin misuse continues then we may decide to remove the bin (on a temporary basis in some cases) or relocate the bin in the nearby vicinity. Usually, this will only occur as a last resort following ongoing monitoring of the bin and the failure of the public to comply with our warning notices that we attach to the litter bins prior to removal. 

Why doesn't the council "stake-out" misused bins and flytipping areas with enforcement officers or CCTV?

We do not have the resource/manpower to monitor every bin throughout the area 24/7. Invariably those responsible for bin misuse are aware that the practice is unacceptable and therefore go to great lengths to avoid detection, which means the chances of catching the culprits are extremely slim. 

However, local intelligence is important and if any member of the public has any information regarding bin misuse then they should report the matter by contacting Parks and Cleansing: parks.section@swansea.gov.uk / 01792 280210.

Whilst there is limited use of CCTV in certain instances, there are significant resource and legal implications which often are disproportionate to the benefit.    

Why do cleansing operatives carrying out litter picking carry a blue and a green bag?

We introduced a recycling initiative for our routine litter picking of roads, footways and other adopted areas including some council-owned beaches. Unless, extreme weather conditions dictate otherwise, we will collect all non-recyclable materials into a blue bag and any tins/cans, glass or soft plastic containers such as drinks/milk bottles into the green bag. 

This way, we contribute to increasing the council's overall recycling rates and reduce the amount of material sent to landfill.

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