How is the recycling sorted and reused?
The mixed recycling we collect is bulked at Slyfield before being taken to Biffa's Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Edmonton.
What happens to your recycling?
View the animation to find out what happens to the recycling you put in your green bin:
The mixed recycling goes through various processes at the materials recovery facility (MRF) before the items are ready to be used again by manufacturers.
- Recyclables are loaded onto conveyors to be sorted.
- Non-recyclables and large items are removed.
- Glass, plastic, metal, card and papers are separated using trommels (screened cylinders or drums).
- The 45mm trammel removes glass. The 170mm trammel removes newspaper, pamphlets, paper, card, plastic and metal.
- High quality glass is reprocessed for manufacturing into new products.
- Plastic, metal, card and paper are sorted by ballistic (vibration) separators.
- Plastics are further sorted by optical scanners to identify different kinds of plastic by colour.
- Overhead magnets sort steel and tins, and an eddy current separator generates a strong magnetic field to throw aluminium into a collection area.
- Paper and card are sorted into different grades.
- All materials are checked and audited before dispatch.
- High quality recyclates are sold for manufacturing into new products.
Where does it go after it has been sorted?
The recyclable material destination changes quite regularly as it follows the market (who pays the most). As part of the Surrey Waste Partnership we publish the destinations of our recycling annually.
We currently take our food waste to two sites. Around half the waste is taken to the Biogen Greenfinch bio-gas plant in Bedfordshire, where they use anaerobic digestion treatment. The other half of the food waste is taken to Bio Collectors in Mitcham, which uses similar technology.
Here are some facts about the process and end products created by Biogen Greenfinch:
- Household food waste is sent to the plant for treatment from many counties in the plant's catchment area.
- The food waste is processed (mechanically chewed up) and digested in large holding tanks for 30 days at 40 degrees.
- During digestion, naturally occurring micro organisms produce bio-gas to power large engines that produce electricity. Biogen use around 10% to power the plant, whilst the majority makes a contribution to the national grid.
- Environmentally friendly bio-fertilizer from the process is used on farmland local to the plant.
- Bin collection days
- Report a missed bin collection
- FAQs - Bins and recycling
- What can go into my green bin?
- Too much recycling?
- Where should I put bins for collection?
- Should I put my silver caddy out for collection?
- What can I use to line my food waste caddy?
- What should go in my black wheeled bin?
- When are the Community Recycling Centres (the tip/dump) open (including Slyfield)?
- What should I do if any of my bins or my caddy are missed on collection day?
- My bin has been damaged or stolen, what should I do?
- My cardboard is too big to fit in my bin, what should I do?
- I have difficulty taking my containers out for collection. Can you help?
- What should I do with garden waste?
- I have already purchased my own wheeled bin. Can I use it for collections?
- Do I take my wheeled bin if I move house?
- Does Guildford collect on bank holidays?
- Do you collect textiles?
- I am a developer who would like to know the GBC guidance on the storage and collection of household waste