By Marc Rath
Some £2,097,343 was received by the authority from selling recycling materials such as tin cans and glass in 2010/11, compared with £1,378,468 in 2009/10, a rise of more than 50 per cent.
The hundreds of tonnes of recycling waste collected from outside homes and from recycling banks in supermarket car parks and council-run tips can be processed to be turned into new products.
According to the city council, the hike in income is down to Bristolians recycling more of their waste each year and the increasing market values for recycling materials prompted by the growing global demand on resources.
Although millions of pounds are being made from the sale of recycling waste, the cost of collecting and sorting the recycling is far higher than the amount of money generated.
In 2010/11, the cost of collecting and sorting recycling materials in the city was £6,448,558, compared with £6,262,281 in 2009/10.
But the council says it would incur far greater costs if it sent all its rubbish to landfill as it would be forced to pay heavy government landfill taxes as a penalty.
Council spokeswoman Vicky O’Loughlin said: “The cost of disposing of waste is more expensive than recycling waste mainly due to a tax by the Government, which is scheduled to increase year on year.
“If you take the recycling that the residents of Bristol achieved in 2009/10 and landfilled it, it would have cost the council an extra £4.7 million and this would have risen to £5.5 million in 2010/11.
“For some of the materials, such as scrap metals, glass, etc, there is an income, however for others such as wood, carpets and food waste, there is a charge. In all cases it is always cheaper than landfilling the materials.
“The council does not process any of the waste itself but instead it holds contracts with various processors that recycle or process the material themselves, either making them into new products or refining them so that they can be used as raw materials for other processors to make into new products.”
The most lucrative recycling materials for the council are food and drinks cans, and scrap metal, due to their high market values.