Lambeth recycling – myths or truths?

Baled plastic bottles ready for recycling

A bale of plastic bottles at the MRF in Wandsworth, ready for recycling.

We often get asked questions about the finer details of recycling by our conscientious recyclers, so we thought as part of Recycle Week, we’d bust a few myths and confirm a few truths!

Do I need to remove my bottle tops?

Yes please! When your bottles (glass and plastic) arrive at the MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) for sorting, the lids can cause problems for the machinery. Also, if they become separated from the bottle, they can contaminate other material streams, for example paper.

Do I need to remove the clear windows from my envelopes?

No, this used to be an issue but modern paper mills are able to cope with the removal of windows.

Do I really need to wash all of my recycling?

You just need to make sure that food residue is removed from packaging, so items such as yoghurt pots and margarine tubs need a rinse before going in your orange sack or estate recycling bin. Too much food residue can damage other materials such as paper and is also unpleasant for workers who sort materials by hand. Use your washing up water when you’re finished to reduce water usage.

What plastics can I recycle in Lambeth?

You can recycle plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.

  • Plastic bottles – for example, drinks, shampoo, toiletries and cleaning products
  • Pots – for example, yoghurt, houmous and cream
  • Tubs – for example, ice-cream, margarine and soups
  • Trays – for example, fruit and vegetables, meat and ready meals

Plastic bags and film are not recyclable in your orange sack or estate recycling bin but your local supermarket may have a collection point in the foyer.

Do you have a question about recycling? Tweet us @lambeth_council #recycleweek or leave a comment on this post.

For more information about recycling in Lambeth, visit our website


9 Responses to Lambeth recycling – myths or truths?

  1. pauldanon says:

    Very helpful. It’s not just about removing bottle-tops. It seems you shouldn’t recycle them but put them in the landfill bag/dumpster.

    • Lambeth Recycling says:

      Hello Paul

      That’s right, we ask that you remove the lids and put them in your rubbish bin.

      However, your waste no longer goes to landfill. Rubbish collected in Lambeth is sent to a new Energy from Waste Plant in Belvedere (London Borough of Bexley).

      The waste is burnt, generating enough electricity to power 100,000 homes. The end product is a mix of ash and non-combustible items such as metal and brick, all of which gets recycled.

  2. suggests screwing aluminium caps on to glass bottles rather than putting them in the normal rubbish.

    What do you think of this suggestion?

    • environmentlambeth says:

      Hi Stephen, thank you for your comment. We are aware of this campaign but it is not one we are promoting in Lambeth. I have double checked with our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) where all of our recycling is sorted and they request that caps are not screwed back onto bottles before recycling.
      Glass collected in Lambeth is currently sent for recycling into cullet rather than aggregate and there is a concern that the caps would contaminate the glass.
      Instead, we would recommend that these small caps are disposed of with general rubbish which is sent to an Energy from Waste Plant. Once the process is complete, metal can be extracted from the Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) and sent for recycling.
      Many thanks

      • Thanks for the clear answer. If there is a risk of caps contaminating the glass what about the metal collars that remain on the bottle after the cap is removed?

      • environmentlambeth says:

        Hi Stephen,

        Due to the very small quantities, these can be tolerated. They do not need to be removed.

        Many thanks

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