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What happens to my recycling?

Find out how we dispose of your recycling.
Easter Bank Holiday waste collections

Monday 10 April to Saturday 15 April. Usual service will resume week commending Monday 17 April. 

All refuse and recycling collections will take place one day later than normal due to Easter celebrations.

Standard collection day Revised collection day 
 Monday 10 April Tuesday 11 April 
 Tuesday 11 April Wednesday 12 April 
 Wednesday 12 April Thursday 13 April 
 Thursday 13 April Friday 14 April 
Friday 14 April  Saturday 15 April 

Make sure your bins are out for collection on your revised collection day. 

The recycling crew collect your recycling and transport it to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) operated by Bywaters in Stratford.

The recycling process at MRF (Bywaters)

Once deposited into the MRF's Reception Hall, the recyclables must undergo a first stage visual inspection to make sure that the material is of a good enough quality to be processed. 

After the load has been inspected it is put into the Bag Breaker. This machine removes items from the original bags that they were stored and allows them to travel down a series of conveyer belts into the manual Pre Sort Cabin.

This cabin allows operatives to effectively remove any contamination and it also acts as a first stage sorting area for items like textiles and film grade plastics. This is one of the main reasons why we are now able to recycle many more materials.

Only after this stage do the materials start to go through the various pieces of high tech equipment. 

Each specialist machine is designed to determine and separate specific materials from the load. Magnets separate ferrous metals and eddy currents remove the non-ferrous ones. They even have a machine that can determine and separate HDPE and PET plastics!

Operatives in another manual sorting cabin ensure that the materials are processed correctly and that they are sorted into a high quality single stream bale. 

Throughout the whole operation the control room continually monitors the process by using over 50 different internal areas specific cameras. This ensures staff safety and is a final quality check on the recyclable materials.

Only after all of this, is the material able to be sold and transported to reprocessing facilities throughout the UK to finally be recycled.

Things that can be made from recycled materials

  • Paper: Cardboard gets remade as corrugated cardboard. Newspapers and leaflets are made into new newsprint. Other mixed paper is recycled to make new paper.
  • Cans: From the ferrous and non-ferrous metals, many things can be produced, including new cans, car parts, aeroplane parts and ship parts.
  • Glass: The glass is ground back into sand and used for road building in the South London area. It can also be used to make new glass.
  • Plastic: The plastic bottles we collect from are made into more plastic bottles. Other plastics can be used to make numerous everyday items like garden furniture, fleece jackets, new wheelie bins, composters and CD cases.

If you have any questions on how we manage your food and garden waste, please contact us at recycle@lewisham.gov.uk


You may also be interested in...

A to Z of recycling

To help you with all your recycling needs.

Garden waste

You can get regular garden waste collections from your kerbside.