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Adur Worthing Visit

A recycling road trip

Posted on 25 January 2018

Adur and Worthing blog on all things waste.

For all the education that we do concerning waste and recycling in Adur and Worthing nothing compares to a trip to the recycling plant at Ford. People that have the opportunity to visit can learn more in an hour at the plant than any amount of leaflets, social media messages or roadshows. Late December we organised a visit for a group of elected councillors to enable them to better understand what can be recycled and to equip them to deal with some of the more straightforward questions that they are asked by their constituents.

The presentation that they were given provided information on where recycling fits into the overall waste management service and why it is important economically to recycle rather than put items into the general waste bin. It is estimated that more than £3 million of perfectly good recycling is currently put into general waste bins. Quite apart from the environmental issues related to putting the material in the wrong bin, there is both lost value and the cost of getting rid of the material.

Watching the material being separated at the plant demonstrates some of the problems of putting the wrong material into a recycling bin. Councillors were able to see first hand what happens with shredded paper getting wrapped around the machinery, or plastic bottle lids falling into the glass line because of their small size. Instantly it becomes clear why we ask for lids to be removed and shredded paper to be dealt with another way (home composting is best!). If you are unable to home compost, you can take shredded paper to their local Household Waste Recycling Site (HWRS).

Another of the enemies of recycling that they got to see was the plastic bag. Plastic bags themselves are not recyclable in our scheme. Sadly a lot of recycling goes to waste by being contained in a plastic bag. The sorting plant cannot separate plastic bags from the contents and often this material then gets rejected. A lot of these plastic bags come from well-meaning residents who use the bags to carry their material to the communal recycling facilities in blocks of flats and then leave the whole bag in the bin rather than empty the contents. To counter this we have been giving out special bags in recent years that can be used again and again.

Ultimately the key to properly understanding how the material is recycled is to see the sorting process in action. Sorting is carried out through a combination of hand and mechanical means to ensure that clean and high quality material fit for sale comes out of the end of the process.

This is crucial to ensure that the best prices can be achieved for the material, but it also helps with selling the material on during global market slumps in commodity values. Our councillors found their afternoon trip very interesting and thought-provoking and will now become better ambassadors for encouraging recycling as a result.

Would you like a trip to the sorting plant and see what happens to your recycling? Contact us at and if we have sufficient demand we may be able to organise a trip for residents to take a look for themselves.

 Alternatively visit or email

Photo: Elected councillors on a fact finding visit to the Ford Materials Recycling Facility (MRF)