Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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What happens to everything that goes into your recycling bin?

We do get a lot of enquiries about what happens to everything that goes into the recycling bins in Lewisham. Whilst we take great efforts to explain what happens to all the materials that go into the recycling bins, there are some people that aren’t convinced that a mechanised process can deal with sifting and sorting all of the different materials.

Of course its not an entirely mechanised process and there are whole lines of people who hand sort much of the materials as it first enters the materials recycling facility, also known as a MRF (pronounced merf).

We do organise tours around the MRF so that people can see all the processes first hand and we also direct people to our contractor Bywaters website where there is a video showing what happens to all the materials once they are tipped out of the recycling vehicles. Not everyone will do these things however so we thought we should put the video of the processes involved on our blog to make it a little more accessible.

Below is what happens to the contents of your recycling bin once it has been emptied.


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Boost for recycling as Lewisham chooses new contractor

Over the last few months, the Council have been involved in a lengthy tendering process to find a new contractor that will take and sort the comingled (mixed) recycling for the next 3 years. The process took several months and attracted a broad range of interest from contractors involved in recycling and waste management that were keen to work with the Council and to process and sell all of its mixed dry recyclables.

Residents have been asking us for some time now about collecting other materials in the recycling bins and green boxes. Materials such as mixed plastics (margarine tubs, yoghurt pots) and beverage cartons (Tetra Paks). This tendering process has enabled us to take those suggestions into consideration and include them in the tender documents.

Click to see full range of new materials for recycling in Lewisham

On October 5th 2011 the Mayor and Cabinet met and agreed to a new contractor taking over from the previous incumbent Veolia. The company that won the contract for the sale and sorting of mixed dry recyclables were Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd who are based in Bow, East London.

What this will mean for the residents of Lewisham is the chance to recycle more materials using their recycling bins, green boxes and in some cases clear recycling sacks. From December the 5th, residents will be able to recycle the usual items such as paper, cardboard, glass bottles, jars, cans and plastic bottles. In additional to this however, they will also be able to recycle liquid beverage cartons (aka Tetra Paks) and also mixed plastics (i.e. food containers, trays, cups, cling film, CD’s, meat trays, yoghurt pots, ice cream tubs, plastic tubs, party platters, bubble wrap, crisp packets, DVD cases, sandwich packs) – providing that they are clean of course. Empty aerosols are also accepted.

As well as these new materials that can be added to the recycling bins, the Council are also going to be receiving an income for the materials. This means that the more that is collected, the more income that will be generated for the Council. This income can then be used in other service areas.

With the collections starting on Monday, you will be able to start filling your recycling bins and boxes TODAY! in readiness for the new contract.

If you need any further information about the collections, please email recycle@lewisham.gov.uk or call 020 314 7171.