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What you need to Know about Recycling at the Birmingham

Biffa is proud to be the official waste management and recycling provider for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. We’ll be working behind the scenes with the Birmingham 2022 Team to make these the most sustainable Games yet.

Birmingham will be expecting to receive more than one million visitors over the course of the Games. This is a million people enjoying themselves, eating and drinking in 15 venues throughout the West Midlands. That’s five times as many people as attend Glastonbury. By encouraging athletes and spectators to recycle more and better, we are working towards the most sustainable Commonwealth Games ever.


Birmingham 2022 is expected to generate 1,400 tonnes in total, including recyclables and non-recyclables. All of this waste must be collected, sorted and shipped. This is something we excel at, but there are limits. To avoid wasting recyclable material, everyone must put their empty bottles in the correct bins.

We’ve created a guide on recycling for Birmingham 2022 to explain why it’s important to recycle properly, what to do when you are at the venues, and what happens with your recycling once it’s taken away. Information on how to dispose of different waste types is also useful outside the Games, whether it is at work or home.

Why should I recycle properly?

By putting litter in the correct bin, we will prevent it from being wasted. We can then sort and process it into raw materials for new products. When food and drink products are thrown into recycling bins, they can contaminate the recyclables. There is a possibility that the entire load could be contaminated.

After recycling reaches our facility, it is sorted manually and automatically. Our operatives cannot clean each receptacle in a safe and hygienic manner, so any contaminated items must be removed. Contaminated waste can damage the equipment and stop automated processing.

Recycling facilities are essential to protecting our environment and resources. We don’t produce enough waste to allow us to recycle it all, so we need to make sure that our recycling facilities are running at maximum capacity. The materials pile up and will waste more recyclable material if they are not functioning properly.

It may not seem like it, but recycling your food waste and emptying the tray into a bin will make a big difference. It does make a difference, especially if you consider the thousands of plastic trays that are likely to be used.

How can I recycle during the Games?

First, make sure that you have collected everything. Look for recycling symbols on the packaging to determine if something is recyclable.

The red bins are conveniently located at each venue, and stickers will indicate what you can recycle in each bin.

Before recycling your container, empty any leftover food or drinks into the food waste. If you can’t clean the food off, it is contaminated. It should be disposed of in General Waste. The contents of General Waste bins are processed to produce low-carbon energy, just like items that cannot be recycled.

More than 100 Biffa volunteers will be available at the event venues in Birmingham to answer any questions you may have about recycling and where. They give up their time in order to help athletes and spectators recycle more and better. We are proud to have them as our recycling ambassadors!

What will happen to recycling in Birmingham in 2022

We have committed to Birmingham 2022 that no waste will be disposed of in landfills. The type of waste and recyclable material determines the journey. Over the next 12 days, we expect:

400 tonnes of mixed Recycling

  • Transferred directly from the venue to our depot in Tipton
  • Mixed recycling is manually unloaded and sorted into different material types
  • Materials that are contaminated will be removed and placed with the non-recyclables
  • Biffa’s polymer factory in Seaham is ready to receive the plastic.
  • The plastic feedstock is transformed into raw pellets by our Seaham team
  • Plastic pellets can be sold and used to make new products

Additional Recycling:

  • Our partner in West Midlands receives the paper and cardboard that has been bailed.
  • We expect to ship 20 tonnes of metal to our partner in West Midlands
  • Our partner in West Midlands is expecting 100 tonnes of glass to be shipped.

Food waste 230 tonnes

  • The vehicle that collects the waste is a specialist vehicle
  • Shipped directly to Poplars Anaerobic Digestion Plant
  • Biogas is created by treating and processing food waste
  • The West Midlands then gets clean energy from biogas
  • A fertilizer for agriculture is called Biproduct

600 tonnes of nonrecyclable waste

  • Tipton Transfer Station receives and unloads collected from events
  • The contamination of recycling is removed, and the non-recyclable material is added
  • Shredded and baled non-recyclable material
  • The bails are then processed in order to recover low-carbon energy

No waste will be sent to landfills, and no waste will be exported. Birmingham 2022 will be the most sustainable Commonwealth Games ever. You can help by recycling responsibly.


Waste is valuable: How to make the most of it

We help all businesses recycle more and create valuable waste. It can be something as simple as reusing excess stock or as complex and difficult as finding a better way to package your product. We tailor our services to your specific needs. If you’re looking for a quote in minutes, just use our online tool.

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Jane S. King

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