Recycle Week

We chatted to Westminster City Council about their plans for this year’s Recycle Week.

What is Recycle Week?
Recycle Week is a national celebration of recycling, now in its 13th year. In Westminster, people are encouraged to think about those items often forgotten when recycling at home in line with the week’s theme, the ‘unusual suspects’. The week will support a month of action in September to encourage people to recycle more and waste less. The whole idea is to protect the planet by saving raw materials as a result of using products again and again.

What is being done in 2016 to promote recycling and decrease waste
Westminster City Council engage with the community to increase recycling and decrease waste across the borough – which includes running a reward scheme for estates, so they can win money to spend on prizes for their community if the recycling increases, co-ordinating a group of volunteer recycling champions who help spread the recycling word, running a mobile recycling centre every Saturday and running recycling stalls across the borough where residents get information and free waste bags to use,

Recycle Week will also link with Zero Waste Week (5 – 9 Sept) and Keep Britain Tidy’s Waste less, Live more Week (19 – 25 Sept) to strengthen activities and messages of decreasing waste and increasing recycling across the whole month.

Recycling Week

A standard machine found in recycling plants


What is the ‘unusual suspects’ theme?

The ‘unusual suspects’ theme looks at those items often forgotten about in rooms of the house not always thought about for recycling. The campaign features a lineup of items ‘Wanted for recycling’ and a launch video bears some similarities with the blockbuster movie of the same name.

How can our readers get involved?

The simplest and easiest way to get involved is to check for exactly what you can and can’t recycle in your area and to find out more information about what you can do with those trickier items to recycle.

To understand more about the journey of recycling, readers can attend one of our Wonder Open Days at various dates all across the country which can be found on

These events reveal what happens to your recycling after it is collected. Our state-of-the-art facility in Southwark opens its doors this Saturday 17 September as part of Recycle Week and we would encourage anyone who can to come along to discover how we separate and sort Westminster’s recycling so it can be turned into something new. It’s a great chance to see recycling in action.

Recycling Week

The process used in a recycling plant from start to finish

Any interested readers could also consider becoming Recycling Champions for their local area by getting in touch with their local council for any leaflets and sacks to communicate the recycling message to the local area.

What are the best materials to recycle and why?

The best materials to recycle are everyday, common items that are easy to recycle at home and on the go. For instance, plastic bottles and containers, paper, cardboard, cans and tins, food and drink cartons and glass are used in great numbers everyday and can all be thrown into the same recycling bin or bag in Westminster. There are also many recycling bins all around the borough.

Why can’t we recycle some products and will we be able to in the future?
Recycling is dependent on available technology and infrastructure to enable the separation and reuse of materials. There are many factors that can impact on whether an item can be recycled, such as market demand, quality of materials and much more. Veolia has a dedicated innovation team who work with our customers and identify solutions to a host of difficult to recycle products – we are even involved in the development of a new recycled paint.

What are your aims for recycling in the future?

Westminster City Council strives to work with the local community and stakeholders to increase recycling. We aim to increase the recycling rate to 35% by 2020, 40% by 2025 and 45% by 2031. Working in partnership with Westminster, Veolia will look at new innovations to close the loop in the recycling journey and contribute to a circular economy.

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Also read:

How are plastic bottles recycled?
How are car batteries recycled?
How recycling works