After blue top recycling bins have been emptied, all materials are taken to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and tipped into a loading area.
All recyclables must be put loose into the blue top bins because the sorting plant do not open bags.
Materials are loaded onto a conveyor belt for sorting. The plastic bottles, newspapers, magazines, card and paper are sorted using air jets and sophisticated automatic recognition technology.
The conveyor manually monitored to remove any non-recyclable items that are sent for energy recovery with the refuse. It costs more to remove non-recyclable items at this stage than to collect them as refuse.
Confidential items should not be put in the blue top recycling bin.
Shredded paper gets lost around the sorting plant and cannot be put in blue top recycling bins.
A magnetic separator removes steel cans from the conveyor, leaving only the aluminium ones.
The different materials are baled together and sent for re-processing. Plastic bottles are baled for transport to the re-processors. It's important that lids are removed from bottles to ensure there are no contained pockets of bottled air.
For more information about the MRF and the recycling process, please see Veolia's website