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published by permission from Suzi Hawkins from http://www.swcg.org/


  (Linda is a Rubbish watch Coordinator and recycle Champion.)   




There were eight of US recycling champions, Emma and a couple of guys from Cory, and Rutendo from Source.

 On arrival, we were directed to reception, and given a video presentation about the plant, with drinks and biccies


Then we were all given ear protectors and Hi-Vis tops to put on and taken on the tour.


Whilst the video was interesting, it doesn’t prepare you for the size of the machinery! It is absolutely huge!

The first place we went to was where the paper arrives. It comes in from all over the country, 24/7 and is graded as it is delivered. Anything not up to their standard is rejected, and has to be taken away.

Then it is put on the conveyor, and sent to be pulped. These machines also start to filter out any odd bits of stuff that has been put in by accident.

After this, any bits like staples etc. are removed and then it is put into a process where soap bubbles float the ink off. Several processes are done more than once. It is then whitened, and sent to the Paper Machine, of which there are two, on the go most of the time. 

They inject the pulp between wire meshes, and it goes through a series of presses to remove the water, and dry it. When it comes off the end, the roll weighs approx 40 tons, and has to be seen to be believed. Any surplus oddments or end of rolls is put back into the system and re-re-cycled!

Then they cut and re-roll it according to what size is need, pack it and then it is taken by automatic tracks to a huge warehouse where it is stacked, until needed. There was a constant stream of Lorries in the packing area, having rolls of paper put on board.  

Having seen all the processes, we were then given a nice buffet lunch, where many of us had questions regarding the trip, and then we all came back home.


This was interesting, BUT I bet you didn’t know that our pink bags DON’T GO THERE!

This was a surprise to everyone, but the Aylesford plant deals with the papers and magazines that are put in the Blue recycling bins dotted about Southend – It is to do with the grade of paper they prefer for their system.  Our stuff is recycled, and used up, but goes elsewhere.

 Emma was at pains to point out that it doesn’t matter that our stuff isn’t suitable, due to the glass tins and card, because it still is reused, but it surprised me.


There are plans afoot to take us to Harlow, where the glass goes, but nothing has been confirmed yet – will let you know.

I am interested to find out more about where our pink sacks end up and will be taking this up with Emma and asking if we can pay the site a visit.


Regards to all, Linda

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