Bristol is leading the way on Global Recycling Day

18 March 2020 

We’re even recycling our sewage into clean, green gas!

On Global Recycling Day, we thought we’d take a look at some of the ways Bristol is doing its bit to reduce the city’s impact on the environment.

Poo power graphic

Bristol has always been known for its sustainability credentials; from being crowned the best city for cycling, to being the UK’s first European Green Capital in 2015.

This year, we’re proud to have been named the UK’s best city for recycling for a second year running, recycling an impressive 45% of our waste according to the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

And only last week, Bristol was named the UK's most eco-friendly city, ranking above 69 cities across the country.

On Global Recycling Day, we thought we’d take a look at some of the ways Bristol is doing its bit to reduce the city’s impact on the environment.

Poo Power – recycling waste into renewable gas

At Bristol Energy we’re always looking at new ways to source and produce renewable energy. A few years ago we teamed up with the fantastic GENeco, who have been helping us turn Bristol sewage, into clean green gas for our customers.

From bottom to boiler - how does green gas work?

The sewage waste arrives at GENeco’s treatment plant. It’s treated and turned into something called sludge.

This sludge goes through a process called anaerobic digestion, which is much like what happens in our own digestive system.

This then creates biomethane which goes into the grid, replacing units of dirty, fossil fuels with clean, green gas* that we sell to our customers.

This is a fantastic example of a circular economy in action. By joining Bristol Energy, Bristolians are buying green gas to heat their homes and cook their food, ‘produced’ in their very own home.

Encouraging recycling in the city

Bristol has fantastic recycling facilities - and a city of people who have really bought into the idea.

Great initiatives like Bristol Waste’s ‘Slim My Waste – Feed My Face’ campaign saw a 20% rise in food waste collection since it began in 2018; reducing the amount of food waste going into black bins, being used instead to create renewable energy.

Bristol Waste has also recently put 100 cup bins around the city to help recycle disposable cups. The cups are 95% paper and 5% plastic, but without stripping the plastic from the cups, they are unable to be recycled. This new unique Cup Cycling™ facility has the ability to upcycle 500 million cups a year helping to tackle the global problem of disposable cup waste.

Waste not want not

Before we think about recycling, it’s always better to think how we can reduce the amount we use and buy, and how we can reuse the things we already own.

Bristol is a champion of ‘Waste Nothing’. We have many charity shops, second hand shops and a fantastic network of freecyclers. Bristol Waste recently redeveloped their Household Reuse and Recycling Centre in Avonmouth, turning it into Bristol’s first ever reuse shop. They’ve retrieved all sorts; in 2018 they collected 1498 reusable items; from tables, to hoovers, to wheelchairs - even cans of paint.

Finding recycling a bit confusing?

If you’re unsure about how to recycle properly in your area, go to your local council’s website, or seek out ideas and tips online, Recycle Now have a guide on how to recycle almost everything! Together we can make the UK a cleaner, greener, healthier place to live.

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