Where in the country does IW recycling end up? And why the reluctance to say?

On hearing surprising rumours about IWC recycling, OnTheWight posed some questions to the council. Not only did it take nearly two weeks to get answers, but the IWC tried to delay by at least a month.

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Here at OnTheWight we’re often contacted by readers who might be concerned by a rumour they’ve heard about a particular service on the Isle of Wight.

More often than not, they are just that – rumours – and we’re pleased to be able to seek the answers in order to verify or quash them.

Rumour : “All recycling goes to landfill”
The latest to come our way is one that had previously been around, died down, but has come back with renewed vigour and apparent knowledge behind it. It relates to recycling on the Isle of Wight.

A rumour had been circulating that despite residents separating their recycling into food waste, paper/cardboard, plastic etc., all recycling was simply going to landfill on the mainland.

It sounded surprising to us, because one of the main drivers for more stringent recycling rules has been to enable the council to avoid large landfill taxes.

Obstructing simple questions
We figured this was something the Isle of Wight council (IWC) would be keen to clarify asap to avoid any disquiet from residents, so we put three simple questions to them.

Nine days after first asking, and having not received a reply (or even acknowledgment), we chased the council press office, only to be told they were planning to issue a press release in January on the subject and we should wait for that to come out.

Openness and transparency?
A surprising response given the seemingly innocent subject, but this is not how things should work within a public body that claims openness and transparency.

It just isn’t normal for the press to wait for a council to decide when and how they want to answer a question, in a form of words they’ve decided. The usual thing (certainly from our experience of dealing with other bodies off the Island) is for questions to be swiftly answered.

Sadly the opposite is part of trend with the current IWC. They appear to be increasingly less accountable, which should be a concern for everyone.

Hey presto!
After being told to wait until next month, we sent quick email back to the press office to explain we were planning to run an article the following day.

Miraculously, the answers were forthcoming the next morning.

What happens to recycling?
Luckily, the IWC were able to confirm that most recycling collections on the Isle of Wight are distributed to different parts of the country for recycling (as listed below), unless they are contaminated, ie food waste contaminating paper or foil, for example.

  • Paper/card mix goes direct to paper mill (Portsmouth);
  • Plastic/ glass mix to Amey’s Waterbeach facility in Cambridgeshire;
  • Garden waste to Biffa operated composting facility at Lynnbottom;
  • Food waste goes to anaerobic digestion plant in Basingstoke;
  • Individual waste streams from HWRCs go to a variety of recycling/ re-use off takers.

Isle of Wight recycling plant
We’d also asked about development of the Forest Park plant. As readers will remember, the company due to rebuild the gasification plant in Forest Road went out of business.

Work started earlier this year on the alternative – a moving-bed incineration unit – from the German waste company, Michaelis Environmental Technology.

The IWC Website is pretty out of date, but they were able to eventually confirm by email that initial work had been completed and the estimated date to reopen the plant is winter 2018/19.

By summer 2019, the plant will be creating energy from the waste.

There, that wasn’t so hard was it?

Image: cogdog under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 19th December, 2017 12:47pm


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2fTG

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Top story

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8 Comments on "Where in the country does IW recycling end up? And why the reluctance to say?"

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All that mainland transportation isn’t going to do much to reduce our carbon footprint. Can’t imagine it’s cheap either.

Indeed there seems to have been a command from Tory central Office for councillors to say nothing. Even Mr. Whitehouse would appear to have been gagged. At least the Indies were prepared to come on this site and debate some of the issues. The current lot are more interested in issueing bland statements and ignoring everyone. A shame really because I understand there are some decent councillors… Read more »
Matt Edmunds

HWRCs mean Household Waste Recycling Centres aka “the tip”, right?


There is no paper mill in Portsmouth (in fact there are less that a dozen left in the UK now). They most likely mean the paper and board goes to the Portsmouth depot of one of the largest UK paper recycling companies. The company says that the cardboard goes from “box to box” in 14 days!


Well done for getting IW council to make a comment -they should of responded earlier – however to be fair to them they did run a series of roadshows at many of the shows in the summer and the team were very helpful in explaining what happens to the waste and encouraging islanders to recycle their waste


Clarification needed on the neture of the replcement waste treatment plant at Forest Road: is it just “incineration”, or will there be an exportable amount of energy? Heat or electricity? At some point after the demise of Energos this distinction seems to have got lost.