Surprising recycling – some of the more unusual items we’ve found!

Recycling bin full of bread!

Recycling bin full of bread!

Every day we collect tonnes of good quality recycling from households in Lambeth. Most of it is sent straight to our recycling facility in Wandsworth where it is sorted and sent on for recycling.

Unfortunately, sometimes we find clear sacks and estate recycling bins that contain items they shouldn’t. If we’re lucky, we notice this before it is emptied into the collection vehicle. Depending on how bad the contamination is, we can then ask the rubbish crews to collect it or in the case of clear sacks, we can leave a sticker which asks the householder to remove the unwanted items.

Sometimes, the contamination finds its way to our Recycling Facility which causes real problems. Contamination that is removed from recycling has to be disposed of as rubbish, meaning that we pay for disposal twice. Contamination such as food waste affects the quality of other materials, particularly paper. Shredded paper and small bottle tops also cause problems for the sorting machinery.

The most common non-recyclable items we find are food waste and polysterene; however over the years the following have also turned up at our Recycling Facility:

  • a dead squid
  • car jack
  • a whole pig’s leg complete with trotter
  • a safe
  • a large suitcase
  • a whole chicken
  • a gas meter

Spare a thought for the men and women who work at the start of the process to remove non-recyclable items by hand!

We are currently working to lock some of our estate bins to prevent large non-recyclable items from being placed inside and regularly send out communications to remind people what is and isn’t recyclable.

Here’s a full list of items that can be recycled in your clear sack or estate recycling bin and our A-Z should help you with some of the more unusaul items.

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