Our visit to Hollingdean Materials Recovery Facility


A truly fascinating and educational morning was spent by 14 Transition Town Hastings folk at the Hollingdean Materials Recovery Facility in Brighton last week.

We found out they don’t actually recycle Hastings and Rother recycling waste – it goes to Crayford in Kent!


Before the sorting begins

We did get to see how they process all of Brighton’s recycling, as well as fly tipping and commercial waste and learn about what they do and don’t recycle.

They employ  a team of people to sort waste as well as relying on machinery to filter out paper, steel and aluminium. Machines suck up paper and steel cans get pulled away by magnets. They mostly sell on paper, steel and aluminium made into large bails and sometimes shipped to China!

Seems we need more industries in the UK prepared to buy recycled materials to manufacture products. At present, more than 50% of materials recycled in the UK are exported and often manufactured into down-graded products – instead of becoming raw materials for UK industry.

According to our guide at Hollingdean many food companies are reluctant to use recycled plastics because of fears that people will not buy their products (like plastic milk bottles that look slightly grey).

Non recyclables collected at Hollingdean end up in the Newhaven Incinerator down the road where energy is generated and fed into the National Grid.

Also at Hollingdean and other Veolia sites they are working with a new (and secret) technology to recycle coffee cups.

We think every school pupil in the country should visit these sites to find out what really happens to our waste.

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