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Where does your waste and recycling go?

Where does your household recycling go?

The recyclable materials you put in your clear recycling sacks are sent to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by Veolia in Southwark, where it is sorted into separate recyclable materials which are metals, paper, glass bottles/jars and recyclable plastics.​

Here is a step-by-step guide of what happens to your waste with a video of each step:

The recycling vehicle tips the material which is loaded onto a conveyor belt where it is then mechanically sorted.

First, Disc screens are used to sort materials of different sizes. An Over band magnet then separates steel cans while eddy current segregates aluminium items. Laser and air jets are able to capture different types of plastics and finally each separate material is baled, ready to be made into new items saving energy and natural resources.

Watch this animated video showing how your recycling is sorted into different materials at a MRF​.

Use the links on the recycle now Facts and Figures page to see how paper, glass bottles and jars, aluminium cans and plastic bottles are recycled.

Where does your household food waste go?

Your food waste is taken to a specialised facility in Milton Keynes. The food waste is turned into electicity and biofertiliser which is used on local farmland to improve the soil and grow more food.

Where does your non-recyclable household waste go?

Your general waste is taken to an Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facility at Belvedere where it is processed to produce electricity. It is transported by barge down the River Thames saving thousands of lorry journeys per year, minimising the environmental impact that waste transport has on the environment. ​​

16 February 2015
Last Modified:
17 September 2019