Please recycle responsibly this spring

Published Wednesday, 13th April 2016
Paul Hutchinson with contaminated green waste
Paul Hutchinson surveys the contaminated green waste

Garden waste collections have restarted for the growing season, but do you know what can and can't go in your green bin?

To make sure all your grass cuttings and hedge clippings can be turned into lovely rich compost, we need to ensure that the organic garden waste is not contaminated by other materials.

Unfortunately in the first two weeks since the green waste collection resumed, the Council has seen a considerable amount of contamination in green bins - which could put the green bin collection service in jeopardy.

Paul Hutchinson, Rotherham Council’s Waste Officer said: "If the current high levels of contamination continue, the waste we collect will no longer be of a suitable grade to allow recycling and our composting partners who process the waste on the Council’s behalf may have no other option but to reject our green bin material.

"We want to be able to continue to offer this service, so we’d like to issue a reminder to all householders of exactly what can – and can’t – go in your green bins."

What can be included:

The only type of waste that should be placed in a green bin is organic garden waste. This includes: grass cuttings, leaves, and weeds (except things like Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and ragwort), flowers and plants, garden prunings, bark and wood shavings, hedge clippings, twigs and thin branches which are no more than one inch diameter (chopped up as required, the bin lid must close) and plant compost (small amounts only).

What can’t be included:

No waste or materials other than that mentioned above should be placed in your green bin: for example, no food waste - cooked or raw, no animal bedding, no plant pots or plant trays, no rubble, stone, bricks or soil (due to weight), no grow bags or plastic bags (even if they are biodegradable) or plastic of any kind, no cardboard or paper (these can go in your blue bag for recycling), no metal, glass or textiles (these can go in your blue box for recycling) and especially no residual black bin waste. In short - nothing other than organic garden waste should go into your green bin.

Paul added: "If any non-organic waste is found in your bin by our collection crews it won’t be emptied until the contamination has been removed.

"We know that recycling and creating a sustainable society is a high priority for the majority of Rotherham residents and we appreciate all who go the extra mile to recycle. We hope this gentle reminder will help and encourage everyone to recycle responsibly and help improve Rotherham’s current household waste recycling rate of around 40 per cent."

If all your garden waste doesn’t fit in your green bin or you have additional black bin waste, you can take any excess to a Household Waste Recycling Centre.

For more information on waste, rubbish and recycling or getting a new green bin, box or recycling bag if required, visit the bins and recycling web pages.

Garden waste in green bins is treated at a site specifically for the creation of compost and it cannot treat or deal or process with any other types of waste material.

Organic garden waste from green bins collated kerbside is taken to SJB Recycling’s treatment site at Aldwarke Lane in Rotherham, where it is processed by open air windrow composting: a method by which organic waste is laid down in long rows (windrows) and turned periodically, allowing it to break down aerobically.

Organic waste from Rotherham resident’s gardens is composted and mixed with solid by-product from sewage treatment to produce a reusable resource, and is a great example of a sustainable life cycle. It is now being used by garden designers who have won awards under Royal Horticulture Society conditions.

Unfortunately, any non-organic material that enters the green bin will compromise the composting process and can reduce the quality of the end product, potentially preventing it from being used as compost.

This organic waste recycling method can be used to create compost or soil, or in our case mixed with the solid by-product from Yorkshire Water’s sewage treatment process in an innovative new composting technique known as Sludge Phyto Conditioning (SPC) producing a product that can be used as topsoil for agriculture and horticultural use. 

The SPC product, which is compliant to BS 3882:2007 top soil standards, has won Environmental Product of the Year at the National Recycling Awards and it has gained British Standards for sale as a manufactured soil and has numerous markets, including farming, horticulture, remediation projects, landscaping and councils.

Find out more about waste and recycling