During a visit to Southwark Council’s Material Recovery Facility (where Kingston University’s waste is taken) we were shown first hand the journey our recyclables take from collection on our doorsteps to being separated back into individual materials ready to be processed for re-use.
A brief summary of our visit and what we learned can be found here.
We discovered that plastic bags are the top offenders when it comes to contamination of recyclable materials, which is surprising seeing as they no longer come free with our weekly shops!
To avoid further confusion, I would like to clarify that some councils are beginning to collect carrier bags as part of household recycling schemes; however this is not widespread at the moment so check with your local council first. Many larger supermarkets provide collection points for carrier bags as well as other plastic films.
But in terms of Material Recovery Facilities, plastic bags are likely to become tangled in the machinery causing it to break down and so are removed by hand at the first stage of the material recovery process.
If you are unsure of what can and can’t be recycled, the recycling directory is a handy StaffSpace page providing information covering every item imaginable from stationery to furniture.
Together we can