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Recycling: what happens next?


Your recycling is stored temporarily at our Garth Road waste transfer station, then taken to Viridor Material Recycling Facility in Crayford, Kent. Here the materials are separated and sent on to various re-processors.


  • Paper is sent to a paper mill where it is sorted into different grades.
  • It is mixed to a pulp with water and chemicals to release the ink from the fibres.
  • Contaminants such as plastic bags and string are removed from the pulp, which is then de-inked.
  • The cleaned, de-inked pulp is thickened and stored in silos until it is ready to be made into new products.
  • Finally, the pulp is dried and pressed into large reels of paper. These are cut into smaller pieces and distributed to publishers.


  • Glass is crushed and cleaned of contaminants such as paper labels and bottle tops.
  • The crushed class is usually mixed with raw materials, melted at a high temperature in a furnace, and made into new bottles and jars. Alternatively, it can be used as material to build roads.


  • Aluminium and steel cans are separated and shredded.
  • The shredded cans are melted, cleaned, and the alloy composition is checked.
  • The molten metal is cast into ingots, which are rolled into sheets of steel or aluminium of different thickness.
  • The rolled metal can be used to make a variety of new products such as cans, food trays, dairy lids and chocolate wrappers.

Plastic bottles, tubs, trays and pots

  • These are sorted by type and colour before being sent to a plastics reprocessor.
  • At the reprocessor the bottles are shredded into flakes.
  • The flakes are washed and contaminants, such as paper from labels are removed.
  • They are then melted and other materials such as stabilizers are blended in.
  • The molten plastic is forced down a heated tube. It emerges in a thin strip, which is chopped up to form pellets.
  • The pellets are used as raw materials for many new products such as drainage pipes, electrical fittings, clothing, compost bins and kerbside boxes.


  • Card is separated out and sent to a mill where it is recycled in a similar way to paper.


  • Cartons are separated from other materials, formed into bales and sent to a pulper, like a giant food mixer, which breaks them down into different components. These can then be separated out and made into new products such as high strength paper bags and envelopes.

See also

Related websites

Viridor Waste Management

Contact us

Telephone: 020 8274 4902

Waste Services
63-69 Amenity Way

This page was last updated on Monday 16 December 2013

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