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What happens to your recycling

Find out what happens to your recycling after we've collected it.

What happens to metal cans

Aluminium cans are sorted and checked before being melted down into aluminium rolls. The aluminium will be used for production of new beverage cans or even car parts.

Steel cans are also melted down for the production of new steel at various mills. Steel is 100% recyclable and is an energy efficient metal for the production for all types of cans; food, drinks, aerosols and pet food, as well as household and industrial products.

What happens to cardboard and paper

Once collected, the mills sort, shred and pulp the material to produce new fibre products, such as new cardboard, greetings cards, tissues and magazines. The way these materials are collected and processed has become sophisticated, efficient and effective meaning far less carbon dioxide (CO2) is generated and less energy is used when making new paper from recycled stock than when using virgin pulp. 100% of the paper handled is successfully recycled.

What happens to glass

Depending on resource demand, glass will either be separated and sold for re-melt for the production of new bottles and jars or the glass will be crushed to produce a sand. This resource may be used in concrete production,loft insulation or road building.

What happens to plastic

The household plastics collected are often a combination of polymers, such as:

• HDPE natural - clear or white high-density polyethylene

• HDPE coloured - mixed colours of high-density polyethylene

• PET clear - polyethylene terephthalate

• PET coloured - mixed colours of polyethylene terephthalate

Pots tubs and trays - this is a combination of polypropylene, high impact polystyrene, polyethylene

At Crayford MRF, the sorting process removes the HDPE natural and PET clear. These high value polymers are then taken to another operational plant in Skelmersdale, where pellet (tiny disk-shaped granules) and flake (small flat shaped pieces) is made. The materials are sold to the bottle producers as recycled raw product to manufacture new bottles or other products such as thermal fleece cloths.

The remaining coloured HDPE and PET, along with the pots, tubs & trays are taken to a plant in Rochester. There all polymers are separated and sold to similar organisations to the Skelmersdale facility, that specialise in pellet and flake production for reuse of the resource into new consumer products.

Technology has evolved so fast that recycling processes for plastic bottles are as quick as producing bottles using virgin plastics, saving energy and reducing CO2 in the process. There are so many uses for high quality recycled plastic materials, ranging from new bottles and trays, to underground drainage products and even fibre filling for soft furnishings.