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Source-segregated recycling is a collection service we offer that can help businesses reduce their environmental impact, save money, and improve their brand reputation. However, many businesses are unsure about how to get started or have questions about the process. In this article, we’ll answer the top 10 questions that businesses have about source-segregated recycling, including what it is, why it’s important, and how to get started. 

1. What is source-segregated recycling?

Source-segregated recycling is a system whereby businesses separate their recyclables into mono-streams for recycling, such as separate paper/cardboard, a mix of plastic/metal/drink cartons, food waste, and glass. This is as opposed to collecting all materials mixed for recycling which will be against the law soon.  The separated materials are then collected as a mono-stream, processed, and recycled. 

2. Why is source-segregated recycling important?

There are many benefits to source-segregated recycling, including minimising environmental impact and contributing to a more sustainable future. Collecting recyclable materials mixed will soon be against the law since it leads to quality issues during the sorting process. Having separate glass, paper/cardboard and coffee cup waste collections will help ensure more packaging can be recycled in closed-loop applications, such as old glass bottles to new bottles and used paper to new paper. Not only does this conserve natural resources, but it also consumes less energy, directly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

3. How do I get started with source-segregated recycling?

To get started with source-segregated recycling, we’d first recommend having a waste audit to identify the waste streams you are in need of. If you are already aware of which services you require, simply fill in this form. We’ll provide you with a quote and our experts will be in touch to help craft a bespoke recycling plan that meets your needs. From retailers to restaurants to offices, we can help implement source-segregated recycling smoothly and efficiently.

4. What are the main recycling streams to keep separate?

Materials that can be recycled through source-segregated recycling include:

Paper and cardboard

  • Office paper
  • Envelopes
  • Folders
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Wrapping paper
  • Junk mail
  • Letters
  • Greeting/birthday cards
  • Directories
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Shredded paper


  • Glass bottles of any colour (wine, beer, spirits)
  • Jars (sauces, jam, baby food)
  • Non-food bottles (perfume, aftershave, face creams)

Plastics, metals, drinks cartons (PMD) 

  • Cans and tins
  • Tetra Pak cartons
  • Plastic bottles, pots, trays and tubs

Food waste

  • Meat and fish leftovers, including bones
  • Eggs and all dairy products
  • Vegetables and fruit including peelings
  • Bread, cake and pastries
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Plate scrapings 
  • Flowers 


5. How does source-segregated recycling differ from single-stream recycling?

With single-stream recycling, all recyclable materials are collected in one bin and sorted at a recycling facility. As an example, this could include newspapers, glass bottles and plastic bottles all going into the same bin. Unfortunately, this method of recycling comes with drawbacks. As such, the Environment Act will deter using this method of recycling. Please note, food waste must always be presented for collection separately no matter how you recycle. Source-segregated recycling means all the recycling is separated at your business via different bins. A common problem with single-stream recycling is contamination which reduces the quality of the materials being recycled, as well as the amount that is actually recycled. Source-segregated recycling is therefore more efficient as it ensures everything is kept separate, which makes it easier to recycle.

6. What are the benefits of source-segregated recycling for my business?

Other than the environmental benefits,, using source-segregated recycling is now a legal requirement under the Environment Act. In addition to being compliant, you will also be helping Westminster City Council bring about a Fairer Environment and help boost your business’s sustainability goals. From a cost perspective, this is also a way to reduce your waste management spend as our recycling services are cheaper than general waste. For more information about how much this will cost, simply fill in this form

7. What are the challenges associated with source-segregated recycling?

One of the main challenges businesses think they’ll come across is the need for additional storage space. We understand that space can be limited, especially in a crowded city such as Westminster, and that segregating your recycling into multiple separate streams might not seem like a viable option but we can help. We work with hundreds of businesses to create bespoke solutions, simply get in touch to find out how we can help you.  

8. How can I make sure my business is properly separating recycling?

Our posters are a great way of ensuring your employees are separating recycling properly. These clear and consistent recycling guidelines are downloadable to stick around your premises and even on your bins. 

We also offer training and educational sessions designed specifically for your business. If you would like to discuss training, please contact commercialwaste@westminster.gov.uk

9. What happens to the materials once they are collected for recycling?

Our local team transports the waste to nearby recycling facilities where it is processed sustainably. For example, the segregated paper and cardboard we collect is sent to DS Smith’s Kemsley Paper mill, one of Europe’s largest recyclers of cardboard and paper. Here, the materials are transformed into new packaging material using closed-loop recycling solutions, meaning that the cardboard can be back on store shelves within 14 days. Our segregated glass waste is sent to URM in Tilbury, the UK’s largest purchaser and recycler of waste glass. Additionally, the food waste we collect is sent to Biogen’s anaerobic digestion (AD) facility in Hertfordshire, which generates 2.9MW of green electricity, enough to power approximately 6,500 homes annually from the 65,000 tonnes of food waste it processes.

10. Can all businesses use a source-segregated recycling service?

Yes, source-segregated recycling is suitable for all businesses! In Westminster, we help businesses of all shapes and sizes implement reliable, efficient source-segregated recycling services. 

Getting started is easy – simply fill out our form to receive a quote and our experts will be in touch. Sign up now and join the growing community of businesses committed to making a positive impact on the environment.


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