It gets used to make lots of new products!
Contrary to what some people believe, it does not get sent to landfill. Nor does it get sent to China to be sorted. However, once the material has been sorted here in north London, some of the recyclable material is sold and sent to other countries where it is used to make new products.
See what happens to the things you recycle with our handy map:
Dry recyclables such as paper glass and plastic:
Dry recyclables are either sorted at the kerbside by putting the different materials into different compartments on a truck, or where people have a mixed recycling bin, collected mixed together and taken to one of the Materials Recycling Facilities (MRF) in London where they are sorted into the various materials such as paper, glass, plastic and metal. After sorting by either method the materials are then taken to reprocessors – places like paper mills or plastics recycling plants where they are recycled and made into new products.
Kitchen and Garden waste:
All the separately collected kitchen and garden waste collected in north London from your property or at recycling centres is made into compost. Mostly this happens at the Edmonton site operated by LondonWaste Ltd, but if there is too much it will be taken to another composting site in the surrounding area.
None of the recycling we collect is incinerated or sent to landfill unless it is too contaminated to be processed.
That’s why it’s important that residents do not put the wrong things in the bins for recycling or composting. The NLWA and north London's seven borough councils plan ahead to make sure that there are enough facilities available to recycle and compost all of the waste that is collected separately.
Waste that cannot be recycled is either used as fuel to generate electricity at our energy from waste incinerator in Edmonton, or sent to landfill.
Why do some recycled materials eventually go overseas?
Once the material is sorted, it is sent to reprocessing companies to be turned into new materials and products. Some of these recycling markets are in the UK while others are based outside of the UK. The recycling gets sent to where there is a reliable and financially sound market for the materials.
At present, much of the manufacturing industry that the UK relies on is in the Far East and therefore, some of the material has to be sent there. The material gets turned into a vast range of products, from kitchen appliances, to toys, clothes and packaging.