Think before you throw

Do you know where the contents of your household bins end up? Here in West Sussex you can recycle a range of items at home, but have you ever stopped to think what happens to them once they have been collected from your house?

We are working with our partners in the West Sussex Waste Partnership to show you what happens to this material and why it is so important to get the right thing in the right bin.

Together, we are asking you to ‘Think Before You Throw’.

What happens to recycling and waste in West Sussex?

Recyclable material collected from your household bins across West Sussex is taken by collection vehicle to a transfer station, or direct to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Ford. Materials from the transfer stations, located across the county, are combined together and moved in large lorries by our partner Biffa, and taken to the MRF.

The MRF processes the recycling, and separates it out into different material types, using automated machinery. This is why we ask that all materials are loose within your bin, as the machine cannot sort anything that is tied up in a bag. Find out more about the MRF.

Waste is also collected from homes and taken, via transfer stations, to the Mechanical Biological Treatment plant in Warnham, near Horsham. Here it is sorted and separated for treatment, which means that we can minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill. You can find out more about how the MBT processes waste, and the resources that are produced in those processes by visiting our Brookhurst Wood MBT page.

Material from the Recycling Centres is taken to the MRF or MBT, or sent directly to reprocessors, such as the wood that is collected on site, the garden waste, and the paper and card that is collected separately.

What to recycle and where

Here in West Sussex we have a recycling system that you can be proud to be a part of.

Everyone in West Sussex can recycle the same list of core materials at home:

  • plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays
  • glass bottles and jars
  • paper and card
  • tins, cans and foil
  • cartons.

There is a full A-Z of materials that you can search, and if you live in Chichester District or Adur and Worthing, or Horsham District, you can also download an app below that has a fully searchable option as well.

You can also visit one of our Recycling Centres to recycle even more materials.

Some District and Borough Councils offer additional kerbside collections for materials such as small electricals, textiles or batteries. Find out more by visiting your local council website:

Reducing waste

Last year we reused or recycled over 200,000 tonnes of waste in West Sussex but there is still a lot of material going into the general waste bins that could be reduced, reused or recycled.

Up to 59% of the contents of the average waste bin in West Sussex doesn't need to be there.

Find out more about reducing your waste.

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Fight Against Food Waste

Up to 40% of the contents of the average waste bin in West Sussex is food waste. This includes unavoidable food waste like egg shells or banana skins, as well as plate scrapings, and even packaged food!

You can find out more about how to reduce the amount of food that you waste, and how to buy a composter online on our Fight Against Food Waste page.

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