What happens to your recycling

Where does it go?

Have you ever wondered what happens to your recycling materials after you have left them out for collection or deposited them in the recycling bank?

Here's what happens to materials currently collected (2016/17) for re-processing from recycling and re-use centres, household and flats recycling and neighbourhood recycling sites.

Material

Destination

Recycling process used

Recycling end-product

Cans/aerosols/foil

Jeremy Mark Freeth, Swindon, Wiltshire

Smelting

Food and drink cans, aerosols, foil

Cardboard

Edwards Waste Paper Ltd. Barking, Essex

Shredded
Pulping
De-contaminate
Drying

Cardboard packaging, green-living products such as biodegradable coffins

Carpet

Carpet Recycling Group, Lincolnshire

Supplied to UK cement kilns

Cooking oil

Living Fuels, Guildford

Re-formulation

Bio-diesel

Engine oil

Safety Kleen UK Ltd, Bedford

Re-formulation

Refined Fuel Oil (RFO) used in the running of steel works

Fluorescent tubes

Mercury Recycling Ltd, Manchester

Re-used

New fluorescent tubes

Food waste 

Biogen, Milton Ernest, Bedford

Anaerobic digestion 

Fertilizer and energy production 

Fridges and freezers 

European Metal Recycling Ltd, Warrington

Separation techniques 

Broken down to elemental compounds such as copper, aluminium and steel 

Gas cylinders 

Silver Lining Industries Ltd, Leeds 

Smelting 

New gas cylinders 

Glass 

ING Environemtal Ltd, North Yorkshire

Crushing
Melting
Remodelling 

New glass bottles and jars 

Green waste  

FCC UK Ltd, Oxfordshire

Composting

High grade compost 

Household and car batteries 

G&P Batteries Ltd, Walsall, West Midlands

Separation

Compound recovery 

Broken down to elemental compounds such as lead and zinc, depending on battery type 

Matresses

Matt UK, London

Separation

Stripped fabric baled and used for textiles
Metal springs sent as scrap metal
Foam is baled to make sponge

Mixed Recycling

Viridor Waste Management Ltd, Crayford    

Separation 

New paper, cardboard, can, glass and plastic bottle products  

Paper

Aylesford Newsprint, Aylesford, Kent 

Pulping 

Newspaper 

Plastics

AWS Eco Plastics Ltd, West Yorkshire

Melting 

Cloth manufacturing, carrier bags and sacks  

Scrap metal

Non-ferrous metal 

European Metal Recycling Ltd, Warrington

Smelting Recovery  

Steel- based manufacturing 

Broken down elemental compounds such as aluminium

Textiles and shoes

JMP Wilcox, Bilston, West Midlands

Salvation Army, Wellingborough, Northants

TRAID, Wembley, Middlesex

European Recycling Company 

Recycled and Re-used 

Taken to developing countries 

Revamped and sold in UK stores

Tyres

Environmental Tyre Disposals Ltd, Edmonton, London 

WEEE (small electrical appliances excluding fridges and freezers) RARC 

Metal and Recycling Ltd, Edmonton

Separation 

Broken down to elemental compounds such as copper 

Wood

Eco Composting Ltd, Dorset 

Re-used

Chipboard manufacturing and as biomass for boilers 

Christmas tree collection 

FCC UK Ltd, Oxfordshire

Composting  

Compost