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What happens to your recycling and composting?

Recycling and composting rates vary across the four Partner Boroughs, but on average, each household in Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton currently recycles and composts about 40% of its waste.  Once it has been collected, all of this recyclable waste is separated, treated in various different ways and turned into new products:
MaterialWhere it's takenWhat it's turned into
'Dry recycling' (cans, paper, card, glass, plastic bottles, textiles) Merton and Sutton -
dry recycling is placed out for collection by residents co-mingled (mixed together). All of the dry recycling is taken to a Materials Recovery Facility in Crayford, Kent, where it is sorted into separate piles and bulked up ready for cost-effective transport on to the processing facilities.

Kingston – dry recycling in Kingston is sorted at the kerbside. The pre-sorted materials are taken to a transfer station at Villiers Road, Kingston, where they are bulked up ready for cost-effective transport on to the processing facilities.

Croydon - dry recycling in Croydon is sorted at the kerbside. Croydon’s recyclables are managed directly by their collection contractor and does not go through the contracts awarded by the Partnership. For further details, visit the Croydon Council web site.
Paper is shredded and mixed with water. This produces a mixture called pulp that then goes through a decontaminating process to remove any paper clips, ink and adhesives. The water is then removed from the pulp by pressing it through rollers and drying it. It is then ready to be turned into new newspapers and magazines.
Card goes through a very similar process to paper. Card is made up of shorter fibres than paper, which limits what it can be turned into. Envelopes and cardboard are two examples of what can be made from recycled card.
Glass is crushed into small pieces called 'cullet' which is then taken to a furnace where it is melted at temperatures of 1,500-1,600°C. The melted glass is then used to make new glass bottles and jars. Other uses for recycled glass include aggregate for road construction, glass fibre and water filtration.
Plastic bottles are sorted by 'polymer' (type), shredded and then melted to form pellets. These pellets are then sent to manufacturers of plastic goods who melt the pellets down and form them into new plastic products. There are around 50 different types of plastic, but only certain polymers are readily recyclable. Plastic bottles are the easiest type of plastic to recycle - these can be turned into fleece jackets, park benches and compost bins as well as kerbside recycling boxes!
Cans are crushed down and placed into a furnace, which melts the metal into 'ingots', which are then used by manufacturers to make products, such as new cans and car parts. Steel and aluminium are particularly easy to recycle and the recycling markets are well established.
Textiles are sorted into two groups: items that are of sufficiently high quality to be re-used and items of a lower quality that need to be recycled. The items that can be reused are sent to developing countries. Of the items that need to be recycled, cotton and silk make wiping cloths for use in industry, woolen fibres are reclaimed to make new yarns and fabrics and shredded clothes are used as filling material for furniture and car seats.
Food and garden wasteFood waste collected from households is initially taken to either the Beddington Lane facility in Sutton or the Villiers Road transfer station in Kingston. From there it is transferred to an Anaerobic Digestion facility run by Agrivert in Trumps Farm, near Chertsey, Surrey.

Garden waste is initially taken to the Beddington Lane facility in Sutton where it is bulked and hauled off-site for treatment in one of seven industrial composting facilities the Partnership has access to. These facilities are located in East Sussex (Isfield, Lewes), West Sussex (Chichester, Crawley, Tangmere), Kent (Swanley) and Essex (Colchester). They are operated by four specialist companies: KPS Composting Services, The Woodhorn Group, Tamar Organics and Birch Airfield Composting Services.


Food waste is taken to an Anaerobic Digestion facility run by Agrivert. The facility turns food waste into biofertlizer for the farming industry. In doing so, it also produces enough electricity to power 4,500 homes.
Garden waste is turned into high quality peat-free composts and soil conditioning products.