Bottle lids now recyclable

Published: Tuesday 5th February 19

Residents recycling plastic bottles can now leave the lids on – providing they squash the bottle before putting it in the recycling bag or bank.

Previously the Smugglers Way recycling plant struggled to recycle lids left on bottles and asked residents to remove them, but Wandsworth residents were often left confused when general UK-wide recycling publicity usually showed the lids left on.

Now the plant has confirmed it can recycle the tops as well, as long as the bottle is squashed – this prevents the tops firing off when they are compacted in the recycling lorry or baled at the plant. It also help you get more in your recycling sack or bank.

You can now also place metal lids – such as jam jar lids in with your recycling but please put them in separately to the glass bottle or jar. These will be sorted mechanically and recycled.

Plastic items accepted by Western Riverside Waste Authority’s recycling plant at Smugglers Way include

  • plastic bottles (including detergent and shampoo bottles)
  • plastic trays (e.g. microwave meal trays)
  • plastic tubs (e.g. ice cream and margarine tubs)
  • plastic pots (e.g. yoghurt and cream pots)

Please ensure that any plastic film is removed and the worst of the food residue rinsed off.

Other plastics, such as cling film, plastic coffee cups, bread bags, cereal liners and carrier bags cannot be recycled in Wandsworth’s clear recycling sacks or orange-lidded banks. However, plastic carrier bags and packaging films bearing the appropriate logo can be recycled at larger supermarkets.   

Cabinet member for the environment Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “We are delighted to make it easier for our residents to recycle. We know it can be confusing when different recycling plants recycle different things, so I’m pleased we are now in line with many other areas.

“We are also working with the Western Riverside Waste Authority to give local people the information they need to reduce the amount of waste they produce. We are supporting the End of the Line for Waste campaign, with two engagement events at the end of last year in Clapham Junction and Putney reaching more than 400 people about waste reduction. We will be announcing another event soon.”

Find out more at the Western Riverside’s new, easy to navigate website at

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Recent comments

Thank you very much for finally clarifying this. However, I could have used this information a long, long time ago. I have been diligently removing, thoroughly washing and packing up every single plastic bottle top to send to the Scrapstore in Tooting because I believed you were unable to recycle them. Now it turns out all I needed to do was to remove them from the bottle!!! Please would you consider a much wider publicity campaign informing residents that you can recycle their plastic bottle tops AND ALL THEY NEED TO DO IS REMOVE THEM FROM THE BOTTLE. Thank you.

5 March 2019

This is very good news ! Perhaps, as others have said, you would consider extending this to aluminium foil and aluminium ready meal trays etc .
tim douglas

9 February 2019

Recently went on tour of the 'inner workings' at the site. Very interesting. Informative and very much to be recommended!

9 February 2019

Thanks for helpful update and info. All good news. Will you update the printed leaflet that comes with sacks? Also, what about black trays - you say plastic trays eg microwave meals but is that all colours? Could you tell us exactly what happens to our recycling? I know Wandsworth residents pretty good but the stories of waste shipped to third world countries are alarming. Also our regular black bag waste? Thank you.
Joanna Campbell

9 February 2019

Great news! finally moving in line with the rest of Europe. When will we be able to recycle organic waste?
Francesco Marasco-Rinieri

8 February 2019

Previously WBC said remove the tops but it didn't say what to do with the top, and whether it could be put in the recycling or had to be put in the waste. Most tops have a recycling symbol on them. it still isn't clear whether separate tops can be recycled.

8 February 2019

Good news. Are you going to recycle aluminium containers? would be good if you could.
susan lofthouse

6 February 2019