Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham

Why can I only put plastic bottles in my recycling?


Veolia, the contractor that sorts and separates all the recyclable material for Lewisham Council stipulate that they want plastic bottles only. Whilst many residents are keen to add yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and plastic food packaging etc, to their recycling collections, Veolia say that there isn’t a market or demand for this kind of material and hence are reluctant to collect it.

Veolia also state that if they were to collect mixed plastics, they would need to shut down their sorting plant so that they can retro-fit additional machinery to capture this kind of material.

The Council however are still keen to press Veolia for a solution to this kind of material so that residents are able to put mixed plastics into their green bins or green boxes. In the meantime however, residents must continue to either try to reduce the amount of mixed plastics they purchase or dispose of this type of plastic using their refuse bin.

13 thoughts on “Why can I only put plastic bottles in my recycling?

  1. When will Lewisham get food waste recycling?

  2. Anonymous – i will set up another conversation strand addressing the food waste issue!

  3. I think a lot of people just assume that if they put stuff into their green bin it will get recycled. Whilst they might think they're doing the right thing, they are in fact making things worse. When I walk down the street, I see all manner of rubbish sticking out of people's green bins. Not of which is recyclable. It's usually stuff like wood or bits of broken furniture.

  4. The council should start collecting more stuff and making the service easier to use!!

  5. @ilovecarsThe council are already collecting lots of materials that can be recycled. The recycling bins can be used to collect paper, cardboard, glass, cans and plastic bottles. There is also a garden waste collection service which costs £10 for 10 green sacks.There is also a free collection service for mattresses and the Reuse and Recycle Centre can be used for free to get rid of items of household waste. Why not have a look at their website to see what else can be recycled at

  6. @compost corner lewisham is suffering from high levels of contamination at the moment. They are starting to put stickers on top of all recycling bins to make it clearer for residents – so that they know what they can and can't recycle! and also "contamination checklists" so that residents who do try to recycle the wrong thing are informed about it

  7. Why does it take 6-8 weeks to deliver a recycling bin? I thought Lewisham was supposed to be encouraging people to recycle?

  8. The stickers are an excellent way of communicating the recycling message to the residents of the borough.Once the residents have a clear checklist of what can and what can't go into the green bins and green boxes, there shouldn't be any reason for them to continue putting items of food waste and green waste into the bins. Food and green waste are the chief culprits and main offenders when it comes to causing problems at the material's recovery facility (MRF). This is where all of Lewisham's dry recyclables are taken when they are collected from the homes of residents.

  9. What about commercial waste? I see so much rubbish dumped in plastic bags in the street. The council needs to provide better bins for commercial premises and get tougher on take aways throwing away old food. This just gets taken out by foxes, crows or rats and is a health and safety hazard. It also makes the streets untidy and I feel sorry for the street cleaners who have to clear up old rice and food.

  10. Hi Chapperst, thanks for the comment – commercial waste is an interesting one. I’ll make a new posting about it today!

  11. It is remarkable yet unsurprising that the Lewisham employees refer to “offenders” who put green waste in recycling bins.
    Your recycling scheme is very limited and you seem to be led around by the nose by your main contractor. If Veolia cannot give a decent service level, just get rid of them!

    • Dear Mr Stevens, thank’s for your comments – we believe that the recycling service we provide is a good one, we have recently added batteries to the kerbside collection scheme, offer a free mattress recycling service, offer free graden waste drop off sites as well as a paid for collection service, are carrying out a textiles collection trial (which will go borough wide if succesful) and have introduced small appliance recycling banks throughout the borough – all of which are materials which are traditionally difficult to recycle. The notable exceptions to our kerbside scheme is unfortunately mixed plastics and tetra-pak. The contract for the processing of our recyclables is up for renewal this year and whoever the succesful tenderer is, we will be looking for them to offer us a wide a range of materials as possible.

    • Mr Stevens,
      In addition to the above comment, apologies if we have labelled anyone an offender. I can’t see anywhere on the blog where we have – however we have referred to “Food and green waste being the chief culprits and main offenders” – these are the materials that get into the recycling and cause us the biggest issues.

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