We all produce a lot of waste. Every year, the average person in the UK produces over 500kg of waste. Much of it is hidden from our eyes by being part of other people’s waste – as in packaging put in street bins – or flushed down the toilet. But in Southwark we are asked to distinguish between different sorts of waste … and the list becomes ever longer.

  • Can you distinguish between clinical and hazardous waste?
  • What about WEEE Banks – do you put telephones or mobile phones in them?
  • How big does bulk waste have to be before it can be picked up by the Council’s service?
  • How should you dispose of alkaline batteries?

refuse_lorry_430x180Most of our household waste though falls into four categories: food waste, garden waste, recyclable waste and other non-recylcable waste. And most people in Southwark have got to know (and in some cases hate) the brown, blue and green boxes and bins in every block of flats and outside every house. But do you know what happens to your waste once it leaves your door or development? What is it’s journey? In 2012-13, we recycled (and composted) only about 30% of Southwark’s waste and only diverted 70% from landfill. We must do better!

Every two week collections of blue bins and boxes – recyclables – are made on different routes across SE16. Similarly, your refuse bin or box – non-recyclables – is emptied each fortnight whilst food and garden waste – brown bins and boxes – are picked up each week. Your bins are picked up by a new fleet of Elite 6 waste collection vehicles from Dennis and the service is part of the Council’s partnership with Veolia Environmental Services. If you want to get rid of something bulky, then you can check it can be picked up and complete an appointment form online but you must keep it inside your property until the day of collection.

Integrated Waste Management Facility - VeoliaMost waste from Southwark homes passes through the Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) which consists of a reuse and recycling centre (for residents to deposit a wide range of items of household waste and recycling – the ‘dump’), materials recovery facility (sorting co-mingled recyclables), a mechanical biological treatment plant (treats residual waste), waste transfer station and the Recycling Discovery Centre (education centre). The centre is run and managed by Veolia Environmental Services who in 2008 signed a 25 yr contract with Southwark Council to manage all the borough’s waste.

On Saturday 20 September, Veolia are running their Wonder Day 10:00-16:00 at the IWMF 43 Devon Street, London SE15 1AL.  A fun day out for the whole family, the Wonder Day allows visitors an insider view of how waste is handled and treated in this state-of-the-art facility. Every 15 minutes, the tours offer fresh insights into the wonders of modern waste management.

Details of the Wonder Day:


Find out your collection days and service: