Paper and card recycling

Introduction of the purple-lidded bin

This district-wide scheme introduced on 27 September 2021 came after a hugely successful trial involving residents from 10 areas including Cranwell village, Walcott, Timberland and RAF Digby. 

Over a 12-month trial period, 135 tonnes of clean and dry paper and card were collected in the trial areas, with 95% of residents putting their new purple-lidded bins out each month.

Clean and dry paper and cardboard that is collected from your purple-lidded bin is sent directly to Palm Paper Limited, our contracted paper mill in Kings Lynn.

Paper mills reported that 98.5% of the paper and card collected was of great quality for recycling. Paper has the potential to be recycled as many as seven times if it's in very good condition.

The quality of other items in the green-lidded bins has also significantly improved.

If English is not your first language, please email the recycling team for translated documents.

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Why was this scheme introduced?

Following successful trials, the decision was taken at Full Council to roll out a “twin stream” collection across the entire district.

The council has worked with other Lincolnshire authorities as part of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership to boost the quantity and quality of paper and card to be recycled.

We have asked residents to separate paper and card from the rest of their recycling to help households recycle as much as possible, and to reduce their overall carbon footprint. In the UK, over 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are used each year, which accounts for 20% of all household waste.

The average household throws away around 6 trees worth of paper every year. If every person in the country recycled just 10% more paper, we could save around 5 million trees a year!

By separating paper and card from other household waste, we can reduce the amount of cross-contamination which ultimately ruins what is otherwise suitable waste for recycling.

Putting the right thing in the right bin means that we can improve the quality of waste we collect in Lincolnshire and ensure that more items can be recycled into products that can be used again and again.

Is North Kesteven doing its own thing?

Certainly not. The Government's Environment Bill has the potential to bring fundamental changes to our waste collection service. 

There has been a call for greater consistency in the materials collected for recycling and to provide clear information to householders on what can and cannot be recycled. 

The Government have said in their consultation document:

"following engagement with the sector and further research, it is understood that collecting plastics and glass together with paper and card, can lead to a detrimental impact on the quantity and quality of the recyclable material collected."

What goes in the purple-lidded bin?

We have a "Right Thing, Right Bin" leaflet that you can download and read. More details are available on the A-Z recycling guide.

Please place for collection all paper (except shredded paper, tissues, or used takeaway boxes) and cardboard into your purple-lidded wheeled bin, all paper and card must be clean with no food residue. 

Shredded paper will not be accepted as the shredding process damages the fibres in the paper making it unsuitable for turning into new paper or card. Shredded paper should be placed in a bag and disposed of in your black residual waste bin for efficient incineration for the generation of electricity.

How often will collections be?

Green-lidded bin – four weekly

Purple-lidded bin – four weekly

The sequence will be as follows:

Black, Green-lidded, Black, Purple-lidded (and repeat).

The green-lidded bin will be collected four weekly so we would encourage customers to make best use of the capacity by squashing plastic bottles and cans.

Our data shows that approximately 50% of the volume of waste collected is paper and cardboard and therefore collections on a 4 weekly cycle will not affect the amount of capacity that residents have to dispose of their waste in the kerbside bins.

Can I have a larger or additional purple-lidded bin?

This is dependent on the circumstances of individual households.

If you do have larger amounts of excess paper and cardboard, please visit your local Household Waste Recycling centre.

What happens if I put the wrong materials in the bins?

We cannot empty bins that contain wrong materials. Wrong materials can contaminate the load and make it unsuitable for recycling. Bins will be tagged and will not be emptied until the next relevant scheduled collection when you must have removed the items not suitable for recycling.  

Take time to read the new "Right Thing, Right Bin" leaflet which provides clear guidance on what can go into bins.

More details are available on the A-Z recycling guide.

Will you take materials including cardboard placed next to the bin?

No. The Council operates a no side waste policy across the service, if you have large amounts of cardboard, please visit your local Household Waste Recycling centre.

Why can't you recycle damp or wet card and paper?

It is really important that the lid on your purple-lidded wheeled bin for paper and card is closed as if your recycling is wet, the paper and cardboard can stick together and won't be able to be recycled.  

How much does this cost and who is paying for this?

For all new ventures, we need to firstly invest in the required containers, materials and collection methods. This initial investment of around £3m across Lincolnshire should be recouped within three to five years and will be greatly outweighed by the long-term savings. That money could then instead be spent on other vital services in your community.

It is important to remember that this is about more than just cost - our residents expect us to do the right thing by the environment. By using a specialist paper recycler in the UK, we can reduce the amount of miles your waste travels before being fully recycled. As a direct result, our carbon footprint is reduced and the process becomes more efficient both economically and environmentally.

Will assisted collections continue to be available?

Yes. If you already have an assisted collection, this will continue for all your bins.

What was happening to our paper and card before?

Previously, contents of the green-lidded bin such including plastics, glass, metal and paper/card were sent to contractors for sorting and processing.

Separating paper and card from the mix avoids it from becoming damp, wet and stained and ultimately spoiled.