What happens to my recycling?

Most recycling that we collect can be recycled back into the original material. For example, paper becomes more paper. The mixed glass we collect is recycled into new bottles, windows, other glass products or used as an aggregate material. Plastic bottles can end up reprocessed into new bottles, plastic toys, garden furniture, or even be worn as a shoe.

Our collectors pick up your recycling and put it all into the smaller of the two compartments at the back of one of our vertically divided or "split back" refuse compaction vehicles.

Your recyclable material goes to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Wandsworth where it is sorted into different material types. The materials are then bulked up onto pallets and most are sent to locations in the UK for reprocessing into recycled goods. Some materials are exported because of a shortage of processing need in the UK. These exports are strictly controlled by law and audited by the environment agency.

For more information about what happens to your recycling (e.g. paper, card and cardboard, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, mixed glass, tins and cans), and where it goes,  please visit Western Riverside Waste Authority website, which has more information, and a handy map showing where all your recycling goes.. 

You can also watch an animation of how recycling is sorted into different materials at recycling centres on the Recycle Now website.  

Go on a tour of the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF)

You can find out what happens to your waste and recycling by going on a free tour of the Materials Recycling Facility in Wandsworth, where all the borough's recyclable materials are sorted, seperated and sent on to be made into new products. For more informatiion and booking, please visit our recycling plant tours page.