Have You Ever Wondered What Happens to Your Rubbish in Birmingham And The UK?

Most of us put our rubbish in the bin and then forget about it. This is by no means the end of the journey for our waste, though. As the UK consistently produces 230 million tonnes of waste per year – averaging about 1.1 kilograms of waste per person per day – it’s time to start thinking more about rubbish and where it ends up. This is an advertorial. 

The rubbish removal situation in Birmingham is no different. As of 2017 in Birmingham, 23% of all waste collected is recycled, one of the lowest rates in the UK. And the recycling rate has gone down since 2015. An estimated 8% of Birmingham rubbish goes to landfill. Rubbish removal in Birmingham has been a sensitive subject in the last year or two, with the bin strikes and decreasing recycling rate. With more spotlight on the rubbish collection, perhaps residents of Birmingham have given a thought or two to where their waste ends up. For those that don’t, though, here’s a list of 7 things that happen to your rubbish after it’s collected.

Rubbish in Birmingham is burned

It was reported in 2018 that up to two-thirds of rubbish in Birmingham is burned. Incineration is the number-one method of waste disposal in Birmingham, and the city’s incineration rate is one of the highest in the UK.

Burning waste has become more common across Britain, with debates over whether it’s environmentally friendly or not. Proponents say that energy from Waste facilities are helping to keep rubbish out of landfills. Those against argue that incineration worsens air quality by releasing more harmful emissions. Either way, incineration has contributed to Birmingham’s decrease in waste being sent to landfill.

UK rubbish is sent abroad

Another waste management practice that has generated headlines recently is the transfer of UK rubbish to other countries. Until 2018, Britain was sending some of its waste to China. China then put a stop to this process, citing public health concerns. The UK then turned to other countries for transferring waste, like Malaysia and Indonesia, but these countries, too, are worried about the effects of imported waste on public health.

Energy Recovery Facility

How else is waste disposed of in the UK and in Birmingham? Energy from waste processes, like the one prevalent in Birmingham, is practised at Energy Recovery Facilities across the UK. At these treatment centres, waste is brought in and sorted out into what can be reused and what can be converted into fuel for power and electricity. These materials are used instead of coal or gas to produce energy.


Unfortunately, a great deal of waste in the UK and in Birmingham is still being sent to landfill. Organic materials that cannot be reused, like food, or hazardous materials like asbestos, go to landfills. As of 2016, 24% of the UK’s waste went to landfill. In Birmingham, the number is lower, at 8% of all waste going to landfill.

Household Recycling Centres

Waste may also be sent to Household Recycling Centres. These centres are located across the UK and take local residents’ commercial waste and recycling. They’re established to help people recycle materials that cannot typically be taken in normal kerbside collection. In Birmingham, the Household Recycling Centre will ask you for a photo ID and confirmation you’re a resident there. You may also have to queue to drop your items off. It can take up time or be a hassle going to these centres, but they make a difference in increasing the recycling rate and keeping rubbish out of landfills.


Another fate for your rubbish could be composting. This method, along with household recycling centres, puts more of the waste management responsibility on individuals. Composting is a great way to reuse your garden waste and turn it into fertiliser. Reusing your waste at home, without having to send it somewhere else, is one of the most sustainable ways to manage rubbish.

Final thoughts 

Whether you need a full house clearance in Birmingham or basic rubbish removal services, it’s important to think about where your waste ends up. Doing so will make you more conscious of the waste you generate. Professional junk removal companies who are committed to environmental sustainability can also help to mitigate the junk problems that might plague Birmingham.

At Junk Hunters, for instance, they are committed to recycling 80% of everything they collect. Being fully aware of the route rubbish might take once it leaves your home or office, they aim to be as sustainable as possible. So if you’ve ever wondered what happens to rubbish after you throw it in the bin, or you’re wondering how to make your waste disposal more ecologically friendly, then consider calling professional rubbish removal in Birmingham.


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