What happens to your recycling

We sell our recyclable materials to processors and reinvest the revenue into council services.

The fact that our residents sort their recycling into different materials helps us to sell it as "high qualiity". This maximises the revenue we can make.

Around 60 per cent of our recycling apart from cardboard is processed in England. Cardboard is processed both in the EU and non-EU countries. This is because the volume of cardboard we produce and use in the UK far outweighs the our ability to process it.  

As an example of how much recycling leaves our Southall Lane depot each month, here are the figures for April 2023:

Material Number of tonnes recycled
Paper 23
Card 372
Food 450
Steel 22
Aluminium 30
Glass 294
Plastic – mixed plastics 169
Textiles 6

Recyclable materials

We sort plastic, cardboard, paper, glass and alunimium and steel cans into half-tonne bales.

We then sell these bales to processors in the UK and abroad, all of which are approved by the envioronment agency.

Food waste

We take food waste to our transfer station in Brentford.

A specialist contractor then takes it to an anaerobic digester facility in Mitcham (in vehicles powered by food waste itself). It is then turned into bio fertilizer and energy for the national grid.

Garden waste

We take garden waste to purpose-built sites, where it is turned into a compost through a process called open windrow composting.

This involves putting the garden waste into long heaps called windrows. It is turned frequently in the presence of oxygen and breaks down naturally over six weeks.

This creates a high-quality compost that is certified to the PAS100 quality standard. 

Non-recyclable waste

Household waste is taken to an plant where it is burnt to produce electricity and provide power.

This means none of the waste produced in Hounslow goes to landfill.

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