Putting our residents first
Top menu
Search our website: Search

What happens to your recycling next?

After your recycling bags are collected they are taken in bulk loads to a materials recovery facility to be sorted.

what you can recycle

The separated materials are then taken to reprocessing plants to be turned into new products.

What does your recycling get turned into?

Recycled materials can be turned into a large variety of products, although they are not necessarily turned into the same product all the time.

Many goods are made using finite resources. By recycling we can save the natural resources the item is made from, and less energy is used in the production process. A good example of this is recycling an aluminium (drinks) can. This saves 95% of the energy needed to make a can with raw materials. It saves natural resources, energy and greenhouse emissions.

Paper and cardboard

The paper and cardboard you send for recycling is separated into different grades of paper. It is sent to processes where it is mixed with hot water to make a pulp; ink, staples and glue are removed after this. The clean pulp is pressed together, dried out and rolled on to very large reels. A reel made from recycled paper can go on to make newspaper, magazines or books. Recycled cardboard is used for new boxes and packaging.

Glass bottles and jars

Some of your old bottles and jars are sorted by colour (green, brown and clear) then re-melted back into new glass bottles. The remainder of the old glass is reduced down to very fine sand and used for aggregate in construction projects.

Food and drinks cans

Your old food cans are sent to factories in the UK and Europe to be shredded, melted down and turned into large rolls of steel used to make bicycle frames, pipes, train tracks and new cans. Your old drinks cans are made from aluminium and they too are shredded and melted down by factories in the UK to make new cans, and parts for cars and aeroplanes.

Plastic bottles, cartons, tubs and trays

Many of your bottles are recycled in factories in the UK. Other plastics such as tubs, pots and trays are sent to Europe and China, because there are not yet the right facilities in the UK.

The process of how the old plastic is recycled depends on what type it is. In general the old materials are washed at a high temperature then cut into small flakes. These are then melted down to make pellets. The pellets can be remoulded into new bottles, plastic bags, car parts, home composters or even garden furniture. In addition it can be spun into a fine thread like material and used to make clothing such a fleece jackets, or fibre filling for duvets and sleeping bags.

Is there anything wrong with this page?

* What would you like to report?
Broken link
Out of date information
Missing information
Report a problem with a service

* Please provide further details:

Please include your email in case we need further details (optional):

This feedback tool is for improving our pages. To report a problem with a service, please email: contact@hillingdon.gov.uk

Your feedback could not be sent - please ensure you have completed all fields.

Thank you for your feedback.

Related column
Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 08 Aug 2018 at 12:38