Why wasn’t my recycling collected?

We collect a wide range of materials for recycling on our kerbside collections.  If you put out a material we don’t collect your box should be tagged by crews to advise you.

Rejected items for recycling bannerHere are some of the reasons materials are left behind.

Broken glass and other types of glass products
Broken glassIn Somerset, glass is colour-sorted by kerbside collectors into separate compartments on collection vehicles. This produces the best type of glass for reprocessors to make into new containers. Because the glass is hand sorted, we ask that broken glass is not put out for recycling but carefully wrapped and put for disposal with refuse.

Pyrex glassOnly glass from bottles and jars can be used to make new bottles and jars. Other types of glass have chemical additives and different properties that make them unsuitable for this recycling process, which is why table and cooking ware cannot be accepted. Pyrex dishes are one of the worst contaminants. If put through the bottle recycling process, they end-up as small fragments that cause weaknesses in new bottles and jars, which will then break before they can be used.

Window panes and plate glass also have a different composition.  Please dispose of this material in the residual bins at recycling sites, or consider reuse options such as using old window panes to make cold-frames or cloches in the garden. 

Plastics other than bottles
Mixed plasticsPots, tubs and other types of plastic are not accepted through Somerset Waste Partnership’s recycling collections because most UK reprocessors are not able to recycle these and mixing them with bottles can adversely affect the quality of recycled plastic.

The market situation is slowly starting to change, but at the current time most UK reprocessors are only able to sort and recycle plastic bottles. SWP continues to keep this under review and will consider collecting other plastics if it becomes affordable and end-use market conditions allow.  More information is available on our why only plastic bottles page.

Plastic foil
Plastic foilPlastic foil used as packaging for crisps, biscuits and other snacks.

This packaging wrap is actually made from plastic and not foil.  To check if the packaging is metal or plastic foil, scrunch it, if it stays squashed it is metal.  If it springs back into shape it is plastic.  Commonly used for cat food pouches, crisp packets etc. We cannot recycle this.

Syringes and knives
Syringes and knivesBecause recycling is hand collected, do not put syringes, needles or other sharp items such as knives out for recycling.  If you require a clinical waste collection for syringes please contact your district council.

Old kitchen knives should be wrapped in newspaper or cardboard and taken to a recycling site.  Please notify the site staff on arrival.  Alternatively wrap the knives and put them into your wheeled bin for disposal.

Metals other than food and drink cans
Metal items not collected on the kerbside for recyclingThe metal materials we accept on kerbside collections are food and drink cans (including big tins), aersosols and aluminium foil.

There are many grades and types of metal products and some items such as baking trays and old saucepans have non-stick coatings, so are not suitable for recycling into food and drink cans.  Metal products can be recycled at recycling sites in the scrap metal skips.  Please recycle small and large metal electrical items in the electrical appliances skips.

Drink cartons and Tetra Packs
Drink cartonsCartons need to be recycled separately from cardboard as they are made of a laminate of foil, cardboard and plastic.  Currently, we can not accept cartons at the kerbside, but they are taken at most recycling sites.  At present, costs would be too great to include another compartment on collection vehicles for cartons, but we continue to keep this under review.

Excessive amounts of cardboard
There is limited capacity on the recycling trucks for cardboard and once this Excess cardboardcontainer is filled it must go back to the depot to unload before it can continue with the collection round.  This wastes time, raises costs and risks missed collections.  We cannot accept very large sheets of cardboard out for kerbside collections, such as may be used to pack fridges, new kitchens or big flat-screen TVs.  If you have more cardboard than the equivalent of two recycling boxes (when flattened), please either take to a recycling site or put out at the kerbside over several weeks.  And tear or cut up very large sheets of card into smaller pieces.

Small amounts of card can assist the mix in home composting, which is another good option, and companies delivering new appliances will often take away all packaging and whatever is being replaced if asked.

Plastic bags in the food waste
plastics in the food waste binPlease do not line your food waste container with plastic bags or put plastic films such as bread wrappings into the container.  Plastic will not rot down in the composting or digestion process and so will contaminate the finished product.  Please use compostable liners or newspaper, as a liner or wrap for food waste, to keep your caddy clean.

Nappies and pet excrement
Disposable nappyPlease do not put disposable nappies or bags of pet excrement into your kerbside boxes.  These materials will not be taken and crews will not empty kerbside boxes containing these contaminants.  Please bag these materials and dispose of wastes in your refuse bin or black sack.  Contact us for advice if you are a parent with children in nappies.


Dog waste bin