Recycling and waste: statistics and information

What happens to your recycling and rubbish?


Your waste is collected under a contract with Serco which started in April 2012. You can view the contract on London Contract Register (contract 035103).

After the rubbish is collected

After rubbish is collected from your home it is taken to one of the Western Riverside Waste Authority's two waste transfer station in Smugglers Way, Wandsworth and Cringle Street, Battersea where it is bulked and loaded onto barges.


It is then taken to an energy-from-waste incinerator at Belvedere in the London borough of Bexley. This uses the heat from burning Wandsworth's residual rubbish to generate enough electricity for the National Grid to power over 13,000 homes. 

Until March 2011, Wandsworth's rubbish was disposed of in a landfill site in Mucking, Essex. Read how this site has now been transformed into the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park.  

What happens to the incinerated ash

For every tonne of rubbish sent to this plant, about 280kg of "incinerator bottom ash" (IBA) is produced, containing non-combustible materials such as metals, glass and grit as well as ashes.

IBA is loaded back onto barges for further processing at a facility in Tilbury Docks. This facility extracts metals for recycling and sorts the remaining material for use as aggregates in construction projects such as road building.

Around 30kg of "fly ash" is also produced in the process of cleaning the chimney gases.  As this is more toxic it is disposed of in disused mine shafts in Cheshire.

In 2012/13, the proportion of municipal waste recycled including these metals and aggregates reached a record 45.6%!    

A bale of cans ready to be recycledRecycling 

Materials Reclamation Facility

Mixed recycling collected in recycling sacks and banks is also delivered to Smugglers Way, Wandsworth where it is weighed and sorted in a Materials Reclamation Facility (MRF) before being sold on to reprocessing companies that use the material to make new products.  

Read about how recycling is sorted and how recycled materials are made into new products, or watch the video

To arrange a visit, contact the Western Riverside Waste Authority.


Good quality bulky items collected via the re-use service are sold online and in charity shops. Repairable items are delivered to the Re:Work workshop in Smugglers Way, Wandsworth.

Christmas trees

Christmas trees we collect are delivered to Smugglers Way in Wandsworth where they get mixed with other compostable waste such as leaves from local parks. Bulk loads are then taken for composting at a facility in East London. 

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