Where does my waste go?
Where does my recycling go?
All recycling collected in Bedford Borough is
taken to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Elstow and from
there the majority goes to Milton Keynes for further sorting. At
Elstow, recycling is all sorted by hand on a conveyor belt so it is
important that correct materials are put in the orange lidded bins
and bags. Once the materials have been separated, they are sent to
different reprocessors who recycle them into new things.
guide to find out what happens at the MRF (782kb pdf)
Where does my garden waste go?
green waste is collected from the kerbside or the Household Waste
and Recycling Centre (HWRC) and taken to Growing Beds, a
privately-funded company in Ravensden.
2. On arrival, the green waste is unloaded and stockpiled. After
being sorted and mixed it is then shredded to help speed up the
3. The shredded material is piled in long rows called windrows
for 12 weeks. This material is turned weekly to incorporate oxygen.
The temperature of the windrows is also monitored regularly to make
sure that the optimum conditions for composting are maintained. Any
signs of litter or contaminants are removed.
4. Next, the compost is screened and large pieces repeat the
process alongside fresh green waste. The compost is transferred to
an outside storage area where it is left for up to 6 months. The
longer material is left to mature, the better the end product.
5. At the end of the process the compost is bagged into
different grades. It can then be ploughed back into the land
for growing crops or used in land remediation. It is also used
in parks throughout Bedford Borough.
Watch our video on YouTube, created
by the Recycling Team and Growing Beds, to find more about how the
Garden Waste Collection Scheme works:
YouTube - Bedford
Borough Council's Garden Waste Collection Scheme
Where does my black bin waste go?
Once collected, the black bin waste is taken to Elstow transfer
station where it is loaded into articulated trailers and
transported to a Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) Facility
located in East London.
Upon arrival at the MBT facility, the waste is shredded and laid
in rows where air is blown through it. This dries the waste
out and reduces its overall volume. After 15 days, the dried
waste is put through a machine which extracts some recyclable
materials which are then transported to reprocessing
facilities. The rest of the dried waste is called a Solid
Recovered Fuel (SRF), which is used as a fossil fuel alternative in
Here to see a diagram of the entire process.
- Less waste is sent to landfill
- Some recyclable materials are removed from the residual
- Bio-filters used, minimise emissions to the environment
- The volume of waste is reduced through the bio-drying
This technology is expected to assist the
Council’s recycling rate by recovering from the residual waste
recyclable materials which would have normally been landfilled. It
is anticipated that this will contribute to increasing the
Council’s recycling rate by 3-4% per annum.