What happens to my recycled waste after it’s collected?

Recycling is becoming increasingly important in the UK and across the world. Recycling allows us to reduce the amount of natural resources that we take from the earth, as well as using less energy than creating new products, which helps to save on the amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

If you are curious about what happens to your recycling once it gets taken away, here is a quick guide.

1. Waste is taken to be sorted


Once your recycling waste is taken away from the kerbside, its first stop on the journey is the sorting facility. These are called Materials Recovery Facilities, or MRFs for short. The different materials are sorted and separated here so that they can be processed.

MRFs use a range of high-tech machinery to sort the different waste, but most of them also employ people to sort the waste by hand, especially at the beginning of the process where items that cannot be recycled are removed manually.

Cardboard and paper are usually separated first, and then magnets are used to remove the steel tins and cans, whilst an eddy current is used to separate the aluminium cans and plastic is separated using scanners.

At the end of the process, the glass is removed and anything else that is left over is then normally sorted by hand to ensure that everything gets used.

2. Materials are sent to be processed

Once the materials have all been separated, they are then sent to manufacturers where they are processed. Sometimes products are sent to China and or Europe for recycling, and this is especially true of plastic bottles.

However, most materials are processed in the UK and the new materials are used again without ever being sent abroad.

3. Materials Are processed

Recycled Glass

Once the materials arrive at the processing plants, they are processed using a variety of methods depending upon the material.

Glass is washed and then crushed down into a fine powder, while plastic is screened, cut up into small pieces, washed, melted and then turned into pellets. Cans are shredded down into fine pieces and the paint is then burned off so that they can be used again.

4. Materials are reused

Once the materials have been processed, they will be used again in a number of different ways. Amongst other things:

– Cans are turned into parts for cars and aeroplanes.
– Plastic is used for packaging and garden furniture.
– Paper is used to create newspapers.
– Glass is turned into new jars and bottles as well as being used in roads and insulation.

Always recycle your waste

Always try to recycle as much of your waste as possible so that only a minimum is sent to landfill. By always recycling you can help to lower your carbon footprint and reduce the amount of natural resources that are used in the production of new materials.

John is a guest writer from Anyjunk who provide a man and van rubbish removal service which unlike traditional skip hire or junk clearance diverts over 86% of waste collected away from landfill via recycling, reducing the environmental impact of your home or office clearance.



  • http://www.dgi.org.uk Lee

    I’ve heard of reusing things like denim jeans and old newspapers to create insulation as well. It’s amazing how many seemingly inconspicuous materials can become so useful after their initial purpose is gone.

  • http://www.surbitonhouseclearances.co.uk/ Harrissiddler

    By recycling we can help to lower our carbon footprints and reduce the amount of natural resources. Few Days Ago, I watched a video on how our food and green waste is turned into compost. it has been collected it is taken to a large industrial composting facility.