What happens to our recycling

Information about where the recyclable materials we collect at our Waste Recycling Centres are sent.

Oxfordshire residents are among the very best in the country at recycling. Over 58 per cent of all waste is reused, composted or recycled, compared to the national rate of 45 per cent.

70 per cent of all waste is treated, processed or disposed of within Oxfordshire.

Food waste is taken to facilities near Bicester, Cassington or Wallingford. These turn the food waste into high quality compost and soil conditioner for local farms, and capture the methane given off by the food to generate electricity for the National Grid – enough for around 9,000 homes!

Waste that can’t be recycled is taken to Ardley Energy Recovery Facility near Bicester where it is burnt to produce electricity. Enough to power about 53,000 homes.


To recycle card, water is added to make a pulp and ink is removed. It can then be used to make corrugated card and boxes for the packaging industry.

Producing new card uses a lot of natural resources, energy and chemicals.


It is illegal to send any electrical items to landfill because they contain hazardous materials. Electrical items are also not permitted at Ardley Energy Recovery Facility. We send them to a reprocessor where everything within an appliance is converted back to its component parts, such as plastic and metal, for recycling.

Garden waste

We have several composting sites in Oxfordshire where green waste is taken to be turned into a quality compost and used by local farmers.


All colours of glass bottles and jars are collected together and then separated using hi tech optical sorting equipment that can sort 10 tonnes every hour. Glass bottles and jars are broken into small pieces and washed to have any paper or metal tops removed, and then melted in a furnace and used to make new glass products or road surfaces. Glass can be recycled an unlimited number of times without the quality being reduced.


Inert waste such as rubble, bricks and tiles can be crushed and used to make road surfaces. It is very important that only inert waste is put into the container, so no plastic, metal or wood is accepted.


Metal is melted in a furnace and used to make new metal products such as cans, or even aeroplane parts. By recycling metal we can save energy and natural resources. Recycling metal uses only 5% of the energy making new products would use. Aluminium is recycled into a new can less than 6 weeks later.


Paper is recycled in a similar way to card, and is then used to make newspaper and other paper products. Paper can be recycled into a newspaper within seven days.


Plastic is washed and sorted into different types of plastic in the UK, and then sold to plastic manufacturers internationally to be made into both new plastic products and even things like fleece jackets! Recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to run a 60 watt lightbulb for six hours.


Good quality clothes are often exported for re-use. Different grades and qualities are sorted to match demand and weather conditions. Products which cannot be reused are used to make industrial cleaning cloths and sound proofing materials for the car industry


The very nature of Household Waste Recycling Centre wood waste is that it consists of a high particle board content which is very difficult to recycle. To enable the recycling, the Household Waste Recycling Centre wood has to be sorted and then diluted with high quality wood. This is then shredded, all ferrous and non-ferrous metal is removed and delivered to the end market. 90 per cent of this material will be remanufactured into a chipboard based product. If the Household Waste Recycling Centre wood waste is not able to be recycled into the panel board industry then it is manufactured into a fuel to be recovered in a combined heat and power station.

Part of Oxfordshire Recycles

This information is from Oxfordshire Recycles, a partnership of Oxfordshire’s county and district councils working together to reduce waste.