Remove bottle tops before recycling

Published: Friday 29th July 11

Residents are being urged not to put shredded paper or bottle tops in with their recycling.

The council recently announced an expansion of the items that can be recycled at the Western Riverside Waste Authority's new recycling plant at Smugglers Way. All plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, preferably rinsed first, can now go in orange sacks and orange-lidded recycling bins.

However, many residents are not aware that they need to take the tops off before they put bottles in their sack or bin. They do not recycle well as they are made of mixed plastic and a bottle or pack with a lid on it is very difficult to crush. They also tend fall through gaps in machinery at the recycling facility and get into the crushed glass stream. If this happens extra time and energy is needed to remove them from the glass later on.

The Wandsworth Work and Play Scrapstore will accept clean bottle tops. The Scrapstore, located at the Professional Centre near Tooting Broadway, allows anybody to donate or use materials that would otherwise go to waste. Find out more at

Shredded paper cannot be recycled because it clogs up the machinery. Shredding paper also shortens the fibres, making it unsuitable for turning into new paper or card. Instead, put shredded paper in black sacks with normal rubbish. They burn well at the new Belvedere Energy from Waste plant, where Wandsworth's rubbish is now sent.

Residents are also asked not to put recycling in anything other than orange sacks. Plastic carrier bags clog the machinery and more people are employed at the recycling plant to manually remove them from the recycling stream than on any other job. Most supermarkets have special bins for recycling plastic bags and other non-rigid plastic packaging (such as bread bags) that can't be accepted by the Council's recycling services.

Cabinet member for environment and culture, Cllr Jonathan Cook, said:

"We are extremely grateful to all residents for recycling as much as they can. It saves us money on disposal costs and help keeps council tax low.

"We aim to keep recycling as simple as possible in Wandsworth which is why we don't have lots of different coloured bins and bags. However, we would ask that shredded paper, tops and carrier bags are kept out of your recycling. I have been on a visit to the Smugglers Way plant and seen with my own eyes the problems they cause. I would like to thank everyone for their co-operation with this."

Find out what you can recycle at

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Recent comments

Could these instructions please be printed on the orange sacks to avoid confusion?
Longtime resident

29 July 2011

To illustrate the points made in the article I wonder if you could post a very simple online film of the recycling process, perhaps presented by someone who works there?

29 July 2011