This is a question that we often get asked, some people even ask if what they place in their green bins gets recycled at all! Well the answer to this is … yes it does!
Lewisham use a method called “co-mingled collection” for our recycling services. This essentially means that as a resident you can place all of your recyclable materials (plastic bottles, cans & tins, paper & card, glass bottles & jars) into your green bin or box all mixed in together.
Other councils prefer to use a source segregated method of collection whereby residents are either asked to separate the materials into several different boxes (such as Bexley) or the operatives sort the materials into various compartments in the vehicle as part of the collection process (such as Hackney).
There is debate between authorities and academics as to which service provides the best value for money and the higher recycling yields, in Lewisham we believe that the service we provide makes recycling easy for residents and is both financially and environmentally the most sensible system. If you are interested in reading more about this debate, the most recent report published on the subject suggests that co-mingled collection produce higher recycling rates. Our Head of Environment, Nigel Tyrrell has also written an interesting piece on Lewisham’s Waste Strategy on local blog Brockley Central.
After all of the materials are collected using our recycling trucks they are taken to somewhere called a “Materials Recycling Facility” or MRF, here all of the materials are sorted and paled for further re-processing. The video below gives a simplified explanation of how this happens. Please excuse the cheesy American accent and remember that although the technology in our own MRF may be slightly different the general idea is the same.
If you are interested in having a 360 degree tour of the actual facility where we take our materials to in Greenwich you can do so here.
Hopefully this will help explain exactly what happens to your recycling once you put it in your green bin, if you have any questions feel free to ask us …