Household recycling

Where does your recycling go?

Once we have collected your rubbish and recycling we need to make sure it is dealt with in the best way possible for the environment. Priority is given to composting, recycling or re-use. The next best option is to ‘recover energy’, for example; using waste as a fuel to create energy. The least favourable option is to send waste to landfill.

For most waste in Swindon, we either pass materials on to other companies to process, or put them into our locally based Waste to Fuel plant.

Recyclable waste

All materials we collect for recycling are sent to various different companies called ‘re-processors’. Some materials generate an income for the Council to help offset disposal costs but others, such as plastics, cost money to send for processing.

The list below shows where your recyclable waste is currently sent:

  • Cardboard – recycled by DS Smith in Kemsley, Kent
  • Paper – recycled by DS Smith in Kemsley, Kent and/or Eska Graphic Board B.V - Netherlands   
  • Steel cans – recycled by Sims in Neath
  • Mixed glass – recycled by URM (Berryman’s) Knottingley and/or Recresco Ltd – Cwmbran
  • Plastics – delivered to Thamesdown Plastics in Purton and then exported to various South East Asian markets for recycling.


Recent national media stories have highlighted the issues we face at home and throughout the world with plastic waste. Swindon currently collects mixed plastics however, there is no market in the UK for this which means it needs to be sent abroad for processing. China was the leading market for recyclable plastic but they stopped all imports in January 2018 due to the poor quality of materials being sent.

This has had a huge impact making it more difficult and expensive for councils to send plastic materials for recycling. Our plastic is currently sent to Thamesdown Plastics in Purton were it is then exported to various South East Asian markets for processing but we are considering whether this is the best option for us and may change how and what we collect for plastic recycling in the future.

Wheelie bin rubbish

In Swindon, we have one of the only Waste to Fuel or Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) plants in the country. This takes household waste and turns it into solid fuel which is then used to create power. You can find out more about how our SRF plant works on the SRF webpage.



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