Recycling sacks delivered now

Published: Tuesday 25th February 14

Wandsworth households eligible for the clear sack recycling scheme will shortly be getting their next delivery of bags – if they have not already done so.

Cllr Cook joins a recycling collection in Battersea

If people need more sacks before the next delivery, they can be quickly and easily ordered online or by phone.

A survey of 15,000 local homes in November last year showed 90 per cent of households use the clear recycling sacks or, if they live in a purpose-built flat, their orange-lidded recycling bank. Amongst those who do not recycle all they can, a lack of sacks was the most common reason given for not recycling more. However, there is no need to run out of sacks, as the council has made it as easy as possible to order more.

Since 2011, Wandsworth has gone from the council sending the most contaminated recycling to the Smugglers Way plant, to the one sending the least – from almost 20 per cent of loads to just under 15 per cent. This has saved council tax payers £28,818 a year.

If your general rubbish is collected in ordinary dustbins or refuse sacks you should receive your clear sack delivery during February or March. If you have not received them by the end of March, contact us and we will put this right.

Households that run out do not have to wait for their next delivery. Extras can be ordered whenever you need them in the following ways. 

If your general rubbish is collected in large, communal wheeled bins (as is the case at most purpose built flats), you are not eligible for the clear sack scheme. Instead, please put your recycling in orange-lidded recycling banks. Free reusable orange bags are available for you to transport your recycling to the banks. Email if you would like one delivered to you.

Of those surveyed last November who said they recycled, almost all recycle paper and card, and a high proportion recycled plastic bottles and food trays, glass and cans. However, many put items they shouldn’t in the bags and banks such as foil, shredded paper, old clothes, food waste and plastic bags. 

The council is keen to reduce this ‘contamination’ because it costs council tax payers’ money. The council has to pay twice for any contaminated recycling – firstly to sort it out and then to dispose of it along with other general rubbish.

On rare occasions, when the level of contamination is too high, an entire lorry load of mixed recycling has to be disposed of at the energy-from-waste plant at Belvedere, Kent. This is where the council sends its general waste for disposal – it no longer sends any waste directly to landfill.

The only things that should be put in recycling sacks or banks are:

  • Paper and card/cardboard (excluding shredded, wet or dirty paper)
  • Glass bottles and jars (but no broken glass in the clear sacks!)
  • Plastic bottles, pots tubs and trays
  • Cans, tins and empty aerosols
  • Food/drinks cartons (e.g. TetraPaks)

Food residue should be rinsed off before recycling and lids should be removed from food containers and bottles.  Get full details of what can and can’t be recycled at

Find out what to do with things you can’t recycle in the council’s clear sacks and orange-lidded recycling banks at

Cabinet member for the environment, Jonathan Cook said:

“The message is clearly getting through -  Wandsworth produces fewer contaminated loads that the other three Western Riverside Waste Authority areas, with a big fall since last year. But we want to do even better and have set ourselves a target of getting contamination down to ten per cent.

“To achieve this we want everyone to do their bit. We had to stop making recycling bags available at libraries because people kept using them as general rubbish bags – in one case we found them being used by a dry cleaners in Surrey. But if you run out of bags it’s easy to get more from the comfort of your own home.

“We would urge all our residents to find out what can and cannot be recycled – there’s plenty of information on our website. Or, better still, produce less waste in the first place.”

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Recent comments

Those guys look handsome especially the one in the middle ;)
Nigel ringworm

6 March 2014

What about if we don't need any more sacks - I'm still using up my supply of orange ones? It seems a waste to be giving out more when they are not needed. Is there an option to opt out of receiving more bags?
Lindsey N

28 February 2014

In all the years I have lived here (Brenda Road), we have never, ever had an automatic delivery of recycling bags. I used to pick them up from Balham Library when I needed them but they no longer keep them there, so I always have to either call to request some or thankfully a friend of mine who lives in Fircroft Road is happy to give me some of hers. Why is Brenda Road always missed from the automatic delivery?
Gregory Porilo

25 February 2014