Recycling in East Village + Glass Recycling Poll


This week Keep Britain Tidy and Newham borough have a recycling awareness team & information stand outside @GetLivingLondon HQ on Celebration avenue. This is in an effort to help residents play their part for a Cleaner, Greener Newham.

Many people in East Village are still struggling to know exactly where to recycle their glass. All of Newham’s collected rubbish goes to a mechanical biological treatment (MBT) technology, which uses combination of mechanical and biological processes to separate and transform the residual waste into several outputs.

Glass is recovered through this process, but is usually contaminated with other waste so cannot be recycled into another bottle and is instead crushed down into aggregates, used for building materials or roads.

So it is technically reused, but it has minimal environmental benefits. According to WRAP, glass-to-glass recycling saves 314 kilograms of CO2 per tonne of glass recycled, and what’s more it can continue to be recycled. However, if glass is going into aggregate markets then the CO2 saving is negligible.

As @Ross_T has mentioned on another social network, if there is enough interest from local residents, Newham will install dedicated glass recycling bins closer to the village. The ‘Waste Reduction & Disposal Manager’ London Borough of Newham is John Hastings, we will submit the results to him directly.

In the interest of trying to find out exactly how many people see value in recycling glass, we thought we’d get some awareness to the idea by creating a simple poll. This will enable John to make decisions on whether or not residents see value in the bins being installed.

Glass is already being turned to aggregates, used for building materials or roads.

How likely will you recycle your glass bottles and jars?

  • Not likely to recycle glass & jars through bins
  • Likely to recycle glass & jars through bins

0 voters

Thanks to @Jess_Shankleman for the technical information in this article.
Correct at the time of going live on http://www.businessgreen.comread more here
Previous threads on Yonder: Glass Recycling

Glass Recycling

I learnt from the recycling awareness people that Newham signed up for a 25 year recycling contract with Veolia ( 15 years ago when there was little other option. Standards have moved on since then, but we are still locked in for another 10 years of the contract. So getting some bottle banks would be great. Outside Sainsbury’s?


I try to bag up my bottles separately from my general rubbish in the hope that this means they can be separated and recycled properly but I realise that I’m just pretending to myself and in reality it’s all being mushed together as soon as it leaves the big bins.

I would definitely take bottles to a bank if it was somewhere easy to walk to within EV. Near Sainsbury’s would be ideal since I imagine a lot of residents go there at least once a week or so to pick something up and could drop off any bottles at the same time.


I always separate glass from the rest of my waste, and am currently lugging it all the way to the bottle bank on Major Rd… It’s quite an effort and I really can’t understand why there isn’t one in the village already.


@E20_ORG Thanks a lot for setting up this poll. I was just wondering if any action has been taken off the back of the votes cast so far? Do you intend to contact John Hastings, mentioned above?


Yonder has around 840 users and in 10 days only 34 have voted. Apologies but It is a shame the lack of interest on this subject.


hi @Samuel — I haven’t got a timescale as such, Would you like to make the approach to John Hastings on behalf of E20 Org?


@jb_diogo I think what we need to know is not the total number of users, but the total number of people who were active on yonder over that period. Gut feeling, it is much less than 840.

@Lee I would be happy to do this - I will be in contact with you a bit later. Is there any way to estimate the number of active users for the above period?


I wouldn’t overthink this, it’s not a petition or anything. It’s just a quick poll to test the water. I do think that bottle banks outside Sainsburys would be an eyesore and we have to be mindful that they are noisy. Why not locate near or into the Mobile City Garden in @ChobhamManor — would be perfect location in my mind.


Any thoughts @GetLivingLondon


Hello — I’ve had a considered reply to my email from Jon Hastings — Waste Reduction & Disposal Manager I Newham Community and Environment. As Jon points out, the worry is the noise and associated misuse. Jon is happy to meet and discuss in a few weeks, we can arrange a date if anyone wants to move this forward.

The only place I can think that might be logical for the next 18 months is building it into the Mobile Garden City, they are already looking at a Anaerobic digester and recycling is high on the agenda with that whole program. Obviously that would involve LLDC and Chobham Manor approvals.

@Ross_T, @frankdasilva @Samuel @diederick_hattingh @andytotten525 @jb_diogo @ToddYatesUK @Richardl24 @GetLivingLondon @TriathlonHomes @EVRA @E20_ORG

Hi Lee,

Thanks for your email.

Unfortunately I’ve not been able to get on to any of the links you sent me, owing to a combination of the outdated browser we have on our systems and the firewalls that are in place. However, the former should be resolved soon I understand, as our systems are getting updated.

On the issue of glass, I am aware of how much interest there is in having separate facilities set up at the East Village for this. I have been in discussions with East Village Management Ltd about the options, and back in April I went on a walkabout with some staff from EVML to look at potential sites. We did identify a couple of places that could work, given concerns about fly-tipping, noise and visual impact, but unfortunately both were close to TfL facilities and they objected to our proposals on the grounds of security.

The next stage was going to be seeing if we could trial putting some glass banks in a few of the larger bin stores at the development, but this has been put on hold while an issue is resolved with the contractor that services them. It’s a long and complex case, but essentially there would not currently be any point in setting up separate glass banks as the material is ending up in the same place as the glass which our waste disposal authority is recovering from the general rubbish. I am awaiting more information on some alternatives prior to making recommendations on how to proceed.

The recovery process for the general rubbish is one of two main reasons why glass is not included in our mixed recycling collections. In East London a process called ‘mechanical-biological treatment’ is used on the general black bag waste, which involves the material being shredded on arrival at the treatment facilities. It is then put into 4m-high piles in the drying halls, where it is left for two weeks in an environment where airflow is carefully controlled. During this period the organic elements (mostly food waste) decompose naturally in the presence of oxygen, which produces a lot of natural heat. This heat drives off most of the moisture in the waste, reducing its weight by about 30% and leaving behind a material that can now be handled more easily.

The dried waste is then put through a refinement process, during which series of pieces of equipment extract metals for recycling, organic residue for composting, and glass. The glass fragments are too small and dirty to be sorted any further, so it is not possible to recycle them into new glass products. However, they are sought after as an alternative to dredged or quarried aggregates in making concrete and road surfacing, and this is in fact what happens to most glass that comes out of mixed recycling collections in other boroughs. This is because the sorting facilities for mixed recycling (which are called MRFs, or materials recovery facilities) crush the material to enable glass to be sieved out, but in so doing this reduces the size of the fragments to something that the fairly rudimentary colour-separation technology that exists cannot deal with. If you cannot colour-separate glass then the industry will not be interested in using it to make new products, as the tolerances for mixing of the green, brown and green are very low.

Another reason for leaving glass out of our mixed recycling collections is to protect the facilities and other recyclables. Glass is a very heavy and abrasive material, and its inclusion in recycling collections means that the MRFs handling that material have to be built more robustly and also be maintained more regularly, all of which makes it more expensive. At the same time, the crushing that goes on in the collection vehicles and at the MRF results in small fragments and splinters of glass becoming embedded in the other recyclable items (particularly paper and card), and it is almost impossible to remove these. The presence of these glass fragments has been blamed for shutdowns and catastrophic failures at paper mills, and for the MRF operators there is also the issue of the lower price they will receive for the paper they have sorted if there is a chance it contains glass.

Returning to the issue of glass banks in the East Village, if the current problem with the end destination for glass being collected from such facilities can be resolved satisfactorily then I will immediately re-visit the work I started with EVML earlier this year. There are still hurdles to overcome in getting facilities installed at the East Village, in part because I am loathe to introduce a public recycling bank that ends up attracting the same sort of problems with fly-tipping and misuse that we unfortunately have to deal with elsewhere (which Get Living London is concerned about too). We will also need to be mindful of noise, as glass banks are very noisy when used and the density of the housing in the development means that a publicly-accessible site could have a detrimental effect on residents living nearby. However, we do not have enough of an allocation of recycling banks through the East London waste PFI contract to be able to put one in every bin store, so some sort of compromise alternative may need to be looked into.

If you would like to meet to discuss any issues around waste and recycling at the East Village then I would be happy to do that, particularly if you are having a gathering of other interested residents. I have found that resident Q&A sessions are the best way for people to raise issues and find out more about the services we offer and why they operate the way they do, so if you do have anything in the pipeline then please let me know.

In the meantime I will keep you posted about any developments on the glass front, although I will be away for a couple of weeks soon so this may not be able to advance any further until I’m back in the middle of August.

Kind regards,

Jon Hastings MCIWM I Waste Reduction & Disposal Manager I Community and Environment
Strategic Commissioning
London Borough of Newham
Central Depot I Folkestone Road I London E6 6BX


A lot of interesting detail there. One thing that isn’t clear to me is whether our glass is actually getting recycled/sold on for these aggregates. The above quote from John seems slightly ambiguous.

It’s not obvious to me that reusing glass in this way has ‘negligible CO2 savings’ or ‘minimal environmental benefits’ given what is written at wikipedia about the range of reuses I’d have to at least know what alternative material would be used in those cases if not using the glass.


Hi @Lee, hope you’re well. Thanks for following up and sharing Jon’s response. I’d be happy to support here (date dependant) if there are others also interested. As above from @Samuel I’m not fully convinced that it’s being recycled properly, albeit I think councils have to pay fines if they don’t so they must be doing something to adhere to the regs.


In line with the topic of this discussion, there is currently a petition out for signatures that hopes to convince Newham Council to install bottle banks in every block in the East Village and run a collection service.

This petition can be signed here:

I really hope we can get this done as it boggles the mind that in 2018 recycling glass (of all materials!) is a struggle in Newham.


Signed, thanks. At the very least some bottle banks down by Stratford International Station would be a start, but clearly this would be better…


Thanks for your support with this petition!


Hi Jon,

I would like to meet to further discuss the issues.
I have emailed you directly.



Signed! Great idea.


Newham’s a funny one when it comes to recycling. I too was baffled when I moved here 5 years ago, but it isn’t quite as bad (regarding glass recycling) as it may seem at first.

Our glass waste is actually recycled even though it goes into the normal waste. Black bag waste is shredded and dried before processing, and apparently food and glass is removed for recycling, while anything combustable is also removed and turned into fuel, reducing what goes to landfill.

Yes, there are dubiously long contracts etc, and it does things in a counter-intuitive way, but glass does evidently get recycled.

Obviously this is not very clear to residents, and putting it in the normal waste doesn’t send a very positive message, but that’s the system.

There are glass recycling bins along Major Road so Newham does obviously have the facility to do what you’re asking. Whether it has the resources to collect from more collection points it is another matter. I hope it can.


The problem is its not being recycled as glass which isn’t as efficient. It uses more energy and contributes to the need for more glass containers.