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You are here: Home Page > Environment and Planning > Rubbish, Recycling and Waste > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the questions that the recycling team are asked the most when talking to residents in Bedford Borough…

Please click on a question below to go directly to that question, or scroll down the entire list.

 

1. When is my collection day?

2. My waste has not been collected, what can I do?

3. Does everything really get recycled?

4. Do I need to wash my recyclables before putting them in the bin?

5. What happens if I put the wrong items in my recycling bin?

6. If I have an orange lidded bin, should I place the recycling in a bag?

7. Can I have an orange lidded recycling bin and orange sacks?

8. My orange lidded bin is full, what can I do?

9. Where can I take glass bottles and jars?

11. Why do we only take bottles and jars, and not other forms of glass like window panes, mirrors, etc?

12. Can I recycle shredded paper?

13. Can I recycle envelopes with plastic windows? What about staples?

14. What can I do if I have a large amount of cardboard?

15. Which plastics can I recycle?

16. What can I do with used Ink Cartridges?

17. What can I do with used Water Filter Cartridges?

18. What can I do with used Light bulbs?

19. What can I do with old mobile phones?

20. What can I do with old chargers and wires/leads which I no longer need?

21. What can I do with video tapes and cassettes?

22. What can I do with old glasses/spectables?

23. What can I do with bulky items, such as furniture and unwanted electrical items?

24. What can I do with used cooking oil?

25. How do I dispose of my old loft insulation?


 

1. When is my collection day?

To find out your collection day please click on the link below which will take you to a search facility. You will then need to enter your postcode. Your collection day will then be shown, and there will also be a link below this to open your calendar showing orange and green collection weeks.

 

Click here to go to the waste collection day search facility.


 

2. My waste has not been collected, what can I do?

If your bin contains the wrong items the crews will not empty the bin. A tag will be placed on the handle - please see the tag for advice as there will be a reason why the crews could not empty your bin.

The crew will not return to collect containers rejected for collection, even if the offending material has been removed. The disposal of the waste then becomes the responsibility of the householder, who will be required to dispose of the waste. Generally, the householder will be required to remove the offending material, the container can then be presented on the next scheduled collection day for emptying.

Failure to comply may result in enforcement action being taken under appropriate legislation.

If there is not tag on your bin, please contact Customer Services within 48 hours after your normal collection day using our online Report a Problem form. If you report the missed bin after 48 hours, we are unable to return to empty it.

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MRF

 

3. Does everything really get recycled?

YES! Your recyclables go to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Elstow to be sorted by hand. Materials which are not sorted at Elstow are taken to Milton Keynes where further sorting is carried out using hi-tech equipment. The sorted recyclables are then baled up before being re-processed and turned into new useful items.

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cleaning recycling4. Do I need to wash my recyclables before putting them in the bin or sack?

Yes please. Getting rid of any food or drink residue will help keep your recycling container clean and makes sorting it by hand a little more pleasant! Quickly rinse containers in the last of your washing up water to avoid using extra water and energy.

 

 

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5. What happens if I put the wrong items in my recycling bin?

Your bin will not be emptied, and a contamination tag will be placed on the handle of the bin. Please remove any non-recylable items and place your bin out for collection on your next recycling collection day. Alternatively, visit Barkers Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Putting items that can’t be recycled into your orange bin or sack could lead to the rejection of a whole load of good quality recycling, and may also pose a risk to those sorting the recycling. 

Common items incorrectly placed into the orange bin are:

  • Black Sacks
  • Glass
  • Food
  • Nappies

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6. If I have an orange lidded bin, should I place the recycling in a bag?

No, all of your recycling should be placed into your bin clean, dry and loose. This makes it easier to sort at the Materials Recycling Facility. It will also help maximise the space in your bin as loose recycling takes up less space than recycling put in bags.

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7. Can I have an orange lidded recycling bin and orange sacks?

The council provides a standard amount of recycling containers free of charge, it also provides some extra containers free of charge. For those producing more recycling there is also the ability to purchase more capacity. Please see the diagrams below for more details:

Standard recycling provision 2017

* Recycling sacks must be collected from one of the locations below: Bedford Borough Council reception, Customer Contact Centre on Horne Lane, your local library and some Parish Councils. For more information about collection points and their opening times please visit our orange sacks webpage.

Contact us using our Request a bin form if you would like to request extra recycling capacity.

 

Bedford Borough Council is currently aiming to recycle over 40% of its waste. However, the amount of waste produced per household within Bedford Borough is significantly higher than other similar sized local authorities. In addition, the cost of dealing with all of the Borough’s waste is increasing each year due to government legislation which imposes additional costs on waste treatment. The Council is therefore also trying to encourage all residents to reduce their waste at source first and then recycle.

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8. My orange lidded bin is full, what can I do?

Here are some tips to help you maximise the space in your bin and minimise your waste:

  1. Reduce the waste you produce by careful shopping. Look for products with less packaging, buy fruit and vegetables loose and consider buying in bulk to reduce packaging waste.
  2. Stop unwanted junk mail by signing up with the Mailing Preference Service at www.mpsonline.org.uk or by calling 08457 034599.
  3. Squash and flatten any plastic containers, tins, cans and cardboard.
  4. Place items loose in the orange lidded bin, do not leave them in bags or sacks.
  5. Take large cardboard boxes to Bedford’s Household Waste Recycling Centre on Barkers Lane as these can take up lots of space in your bin.

Please note that for larger families it may be appropriate to provide larger orange lidded recycling containers. Please see previous question for containers provided by the council and options for additional recycling. To request extra recycling capacity please use our Request a bin form.

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10. Where can I take glass bottles and jars?glass bottle at bottle bank

They can be taken to your local recycling site. These collection points include all the major supermarkets. We collect glass in different colours – green, clear and brown – as this maximises the economic value and makes it easier for glass to be reused. Glass must not be put in the orange recycling bins or bags as it could smash and be unsafe to handle. Please note metal caps/lids can be left on the bottles and jars as these are also recycled in the process.

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11. Why do we only take bottles and jars, and not other forms of glass like window panes, mirrors, etc?contaminant glass

Window panes, mirrors, glass cups and dishes, and glass oven ware (e.g. Pyrex®) are made from toughened glass, and therefore cannot be recycled. If we recycle these items in with glass bottles and jars it will become broken and mixed in so it is impossible to tell the difference between the materials. This creates quality problems for glass manufacturers and re-processors when they come to recycle it.

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12. Can I recycle shredded paper?

Only shred confidential documents and not all paper. Recycling paper works best when the sheets are larger as this means the fibres within it are longer and can be recycled a greater number of times.

You can put ribbon/thick cut shredded paper in your recycling bin. We are unable to accept cross-cut shredded paper; it is like confetti and can’t be processed properly. The best thing to do is to put it in your compost bin or use it as animal bedding.

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13. Can I recycle envelopes with plastic windows? What about staples?
These items are fine to put in your recycling bin. In the recycling process, all paper is converted to pulp with water. A screening process then separates the fibres and water from contaminates such as plastics and glue, and heavier items such as staples are removed. So no need to worry about removing staples or plastic windows!

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cardboard

 

14. What can I do if I have a large amount of cardboard?

There is a container at the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Barkers Lane for cardboard. Cardboard should be emptied and flattened before visiting the centre. Alternatively, it can be torn up into small A4 sized pieces and placed in your orange lidded bin or sacks.

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the three logos

 

15. Which plastics can I recycle?

Packaging labels can be confusing and you will often see this label:

This refers to whether Councils will collect these materials in their kerbside recycling scheme, whether it be in bins, sacks or boxes.

  • "Widely Recycled" - 75% and more of Councils will collect
  • "Check Local Recycling" - 20% to 75% of Councils will collect
  • "Not Currently Recycled" - Less than 20% of Councils will collect

 

Bedford Borough Council is one of the 'less than 20%' of Councils that DO accept a wide variety of plastics in the orange lidded bin such as plastic film. Please follow the link to What goes in each bin or sack for more information.

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16. What can I do with used Ink Cartridges?

ink cartridgesMost printer cartridges are easy to get refilled or to refill yourself and it’s often cheaper than buying a new cartridge. Check online to see if your printer uses cartridges that can be refilled. Alternatively, you could consider donating them to charity. There are many charities such as the British Red Cross who operate freepost return schemes for various types of cartridges, and they receive money back to use in their work. It is also worth checking whether your supermarket takes items such as ink cartridges.

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17. What can I do with used Water Filter Cartridges?

If you use a BRITA water filter, the cartridges can be taken to various high street retailers and are fully recycled.

Their website has details on the scheme and you can use their postcode locator to find your nearest collection point.

If you use a different brand, try contacting the manufacturer to ask whether they provide a similar scheme.

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18. What can I do with used Light bulbs?

lightbulbsUnbroken Energy-saving light bulbs and fluorescent tubes can be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Barkers Lane. Alternatively, some supermarkets, such as Sainsbury's, provide recycling facilities for energy-saving light bulbs.

 

Old style light bulbs cannot be recycled and must be placed in your refuse bin.

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19. What can I do with old mobile phones?mobile phones

There are many companies which will buy your old mobile phone, try searching 'mobile phone recycling' on the internet.

Many charities, such as Oxfam and The Woodland Trust will also take mobile phones for recycling as they will receive money which they can use towards achieving their charity's aims. Most will send you a freepost envelope.

Alternatively, you can take them to the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Barkers Lane.

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20. What can I do with old chargers and wires/leads which I no longer need?

Old chargers for items such as mobile phones or cameras, and wires/leads can be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Barkers Lane.

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21. What can I do with video tapes and cassettes?

Tapes/videos

Although charity shops will usually take CDs and DVDs, video tapes and cassettes have become redundant and are no longer desirable.

Unfortunately they are also not recyclable so unless you can find somewhere to accept them (library, school, freecycle) then they will need to go into the refuse bin.

If they have a cardboard case, this can be recycled in the orange lidded bin or orange sacks. If the case is hard plastic this can go to the Household Waste Recycling Centre.

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glasses22. What can I do with old glasses/spectables?

Unwanted glasses/spectacles can be recycled with Vision Aid Overseas - more info at http://www.visionaidoverseas.org/recycle. Also check with your optician if they will accept them as many donate them to Vision Aid themselves.

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23. What can I do with bulky items, such as furniture and unwanted electrical items?sofa

Many charities such as Emmaus and British Heart Foundation will take good quality furniture and electricals to sell on. Items can also be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre or collected by arranging a bulky waste collection (chargeable service).

Please visit the Bulky Waste page for more information.

 

If you have unwanted carpets or mattresses which cannot be donated, these can go to the Household Waste Recycling Centre.

 

If you have old pillows and duvets, some animal shelters may take these for bedding. You could also try Freecycle.

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used cooking oil

 

24. What can I do with used cooking oil?

Used cooking oil can be collected in a plastic bottle once cooled and taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre. The plastic bottle will also be recycled. Please do not pour used cooking oil down the drain as this causes blockages.

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25. How do I dispose of my old loft insulation?

Most old insulation is not recyclable or biodegradable due to the type of materials or chemical treatment used.

If you pay a contractor to insulate your loft for you, the fee you pay should include a cost for disposal of your old insulation by the contractor.  Check to make sure this is the case and where they will dispose of it.

If you are re-insulating your loft yourself, your old loft insulation can be taken to Barkers Lane Household Waste Recycling Centre.  Please make sure the material is securely wrapped up in plastic bags and sealed tightly with tape. When you arrive on site please speak to a recycling centre operative and they will advise you where to deposit it safely.

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 If you have any other questions that are not answered here then please email them to us at recycling@bedford.gov.uk or contact Customer Services on 01234 718060.

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