What happens to my recycling?

Bins

It's important that you put the correct things in each bin. That's because green, brown and black bins and sacks are disposed of differently.

On collection day, your recycling (green bin or sack) and your general waste (black bin or sack) are picked up by the same vehicle. This vehicle has two separate compartments - green goes in one, and black goes in the other. We empty each of these compartments in a different locations and they're treated differently.

Your food and garden waste (brown bin if you live in a house, or grey communal bin if you live in a purpose-built flat) is collected by a different vehicle.

Watch our video to learn how you can recycle as much as possible.

Where does the recycling go?

Your recycling is sent to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Edmonton to get separated. It's sorted both mechanically and by hand, before it's sent to manufacturers to recycle into new products.

You can see a video of how recycling is sorted on the Biffa website - the waste management company that run the Edmonton facility.

Where does food and garden waste go?

Food and garden waste is sent to what is called an 'in-vessel composting facility' in Edmonton. It's placed into large rooms, where it’s heated and aerated. After six to eight weeks it turns into compost. This compost is then used in our parks.

You can have some of this compost, free of charge, by collecting it from one of the three waste and recycling centres in the borough.

Where does general rubbish go?

Anything which can’t be recycled or turned to compost is sent to an 'energy from waste' facility in Edmonton. There, your rubbish is burned to produce energy. This energy helps generate enough electricity to power 80,000 homes across London throughout the year.

You can see a video of how rubbish is tuned into electricity on London Energy’s website.