Recycling saves money. Last year Londoners saved over £30 million by recycling. This is because the average cost of processing a tonne of recycling is significantly cheaper than the average cost of processing a tonne of rubbish sent to landfill. And we can get money for every tonne of materials recycled.
At a time when the UK is trying to recover from a recession it is a great reason to recycle.
Recycling is better for the environment. It conserves raw materials and natural resources, and helps to save energy. Rubbish sent to landfill emits methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. Last year Londoners recycled around 1.6 million tonnes of household waste, which means that as a city our recycling prevented roughly a quarter of a million tonnes of harmful Co2 gases being released into the atmosphere.
Recycling saves valuable materials going to waste. The world’s resources are limited so we can’t afford to keep on wasting things. Throwing away paper means more trees need to be cut down, while throwing away drinks cans wastes valuable aluminium.
It’s easier than ever before to recycle. You can now recycle glass, paper, cans and plastic bottles almost wherever you are in London, and it’s getting easier to recycle wider materials like batteries and clothes.
London is getting better at recycling every year. Londoners are now recycling three times more than they were five years ago. Now we’re recycling almost one third of household rubbish, whereas only five years ago the recycling rate was less than 10%.
There are lots of different ways to recycle your rubbish depending on where you live in London and the type of material to be recycled. They are:
Collections from your home - approximately 80 per cent of Londoners now have services collecting recyclable materials from their home in a bag, box or wheelie bin. You may be surprised at what you can recycle. If you live in a block of flats where collection from outside your door is difficult, you may have recycling bins alongside your rubbish bins, or close to the entrance to your flats. If you live above a shop you may have a recycling bag collection service, which will be collected from your kerbside at a specified day and time.
Collections from street recycling sites - these are your local recycling banks for materials such as glass bottles, cans, paper and textiles. Some also collect plastic bottles, books and toner cartridges. You can find them in places like your local supermarket car park, on housing estates and on London's streets. You might have one just round the corner.
Reuse and Recycling Centres - most boroughs have larger sites where you can take your recyclable materials that are not collected as part of your recycling collection from home. Some sites also take household waste that can't be reused or recycled. These sites can often recycle much more than your collections from home and your local street recycling sites, for example cardboard, plastic bottles and household electrical items.
Some boroughs also collect other materials for recycling from your home, such as green garden waste, cookers and fridges. You may have to make an appointment for these services and a charge may be made.
What if services aren't available in your area?
Unfortunately, collection services from homes may not available to everyone at the moment. This may be because:
- You live in a purpose-built flat or on an estate
- You live in a converted property where there are a number of flats
- You do not have a front doorstep where you can leave your bag, box or wheelie bin, i.e. because you live above a shop or restaurant
Your local borough is working hard to find ways to collect from these types of properties and will be developing new services to help you recycle more. You can also take your recycling to a nearby recycling site.
Find specific information
Use the postcode locator at the top right of this page to find out specific services close to you.
recycle at home
recycle out and about