Recycling in South Hams collected from households is bulked by sack type at Torr Quarry Transfer Station. It is then sent for sorting at Kenbury Wood Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) just outside Exeter which is operated by Coastal Recycling.

The MRF uses a variety of mechanical and manual sorting techniques to separate the various types of recyclables from one another whilst also removing any non-recyclables that have mistakenly been placed in the sacks. The non-recyclable items are bulked and sent for disposal at the Energy from Waste Facility in Plymouth.

It is important for residents to only put the correct recyclable materials in their blue and clear sacks. Removing non-recyclable items from the recycling costs the Council a considerable amount of money.

Once the materials are sorted they are bailed and delivered to UK processors. The below table details final re-processors for recycling collected at the kerbside and in our recycling banks.

MaterialSorting FacilityFinal Re-ProcessorEnd Product
HDPE Plastic BottlesCoastal Recycling, ExeterVeolia, EssexFood grade HDPE plastic bottles
PET Plastic BottlesCoastal Recycling, ExeterCleantech, Lincolnshire*PET plastic pellets used for new food grade products
Aluminium cans and foilCoastal Recycling, ExeterNovelis Recycling, CheshireAluminium cans
Steel cansCoastal Recycling, ExeterConsolidated by Morris Metals, Neath, before being sold in bulk to Tata Steels, Port TalbotSteel
PaperCoastal Recycling, ExeterPalm Recycling, ShropshireNewsprint
CardboardCoastal Recycling, ExeterSmurfitt Cappa, KentCorrugated cardboard
Glass (from banks)n/aURM, West YorkshireGlass Containers
Cartons (from banks)n/aAce UK, West YorkshireCoreboard (tubes)
Textiles (from banks)n/aSalvation ArmySent for reuse in Developing Nations
Mixed food and garden wasten/aAgrivert, OxfordshireOrganic compost fertiliser

*Please note that these pellets may leave the UK to be turned into new products.

Recyclables are a commodity that can generate an income for the Council which is used to subsidise collections and other services. We work closely with our re-processing contractor, Coastal Recycling, to ensure that our recyclables, where possible, are kept within the UK.

In September 2020, we will be improving our service to include a wider variety of materials collected at the kerbside including more plastic types and glass. We will be changing the way in which we collect the materials in order to improve their quality and make it easier for us to secure sustainable end markets for our recyclables.

Mixed Food and Garden Waste

The contents of the brown bins and food caddies is tipped by the collection vehicles at Torr Quarry Transfer Station where it is bulked before being delivered to Agrivert's In Vessel Composting site in Ardley, Oxfordshire. The material is composted in large tunnels in which temperature and airflow can be controlled to ensure a good quality end product. The resulting compost is then utilised by farmers local to the facility.

Residual Waste

The contents of the grey bins and seagull sacks is tipped by the collection vehicles at Torr Quarry Transfer Station where it is bulked before being delivered to MVV's Energy from Waste (EfW) and Combined Heat & Power (CHP) facility in Plymouth. The waste is used as a fuel to heat water into superpower steam which turns a turbine to create electricity. Left over heat energy from this process is also used to heat the nearby dockyard and naval base.