The Community Recycling Centre and Recyclables Bulking Facility

Published: 03 Sep 2018

A critical part of operations at the Eco Park, and the service delivered to local residents, are the community recycling centre (CRC) and recyclables bulking facility (RBF).

The Community Recycling Centre

Most local residents have probably visited the CRC at some point. Within Surrey, we manage 15 CRCs however the one at Charlton Lane is the busiest. Around 400,000 cars visit the site every year which, on a busy day, can mean 3,000 cars!

We accept and handle over 12,000 tonnes of waste per year and we take over 40 different types of waste. Everything from garden waste, wood and metal to books, clothing, batteries, old paint, white goods, reusable goods, spectacles and mobile phones.

Health and Safety is at the heart of everything we do. All our employees are trained in a range of skills, and they also have to look after the thousands of visitors who come to site every year, who may not be as familiar with the site and some of the hazards. Everything from correct lifting, separating pedestrians from vehicles, and identifying hazardous items including chemicals or broken/ sharp objects.

Our aim is to separate out and re-use or recycle as much as possible. Technology allows many things to be recycled now. Along with the ones you would expect, like paper, glass and wood, batteries are taken apart to separate out the different metals and then recycled. Old cooking oil is collected by a company who use it to generate renewable energy. Old engine oil is also cleaned and used in energy production.

Products like foil, spectacles and old mobile phones go to charities who sell them on to re-use or recycling companies and gain financial benefit from the materials.

And, of course, we reclaim as much as possible to go into our own Revive re-use shops, which help to fund the service as well as supporting local charities.

We also have to identify and deal with any potentially hazardous items. This can include unidentified substances cleared out in unlabelled bottles, often from someone's old shed. At this time of year, old barbecues and coals are a particular hazard, along with batteries, which can cause fires if not correctly separated out.

In 2016, Surrey County Council changed its policy to introduce a charge for non-household/ DIY waste. This waste is not recyclable and is therefore very expensive to dispose of. Our staff ask people what they are bringing in to make sure we are able to correctly identify any chargeable waste, hazardous waste or anything that may require special assistance.

We've extended our Charlton Lane opening hours over the busy summer period again, so we're now open until 6pm on weekdays. To reduce waiting time, it helps if you separate out your items before arrival so you can use the site swiftly and put the items and materials in the correct containers. If you're not sure, just ask for help.

Recyclables Bulking Facility

The recyclables bulking facility (RBF) has been designed and built to receive, hold and bulk the recyclables collected from homes by Surrey's district and borough councils. It holds several different types of recyclable materials which are delivered by the collection trucks, bulked up and transported onwards to be treated, recycled or processed. This includes dry mixed recycling (plastic, glass, tins and cans), plus paper and cardboard, wood and green waste as well as bulky items like mattresses.

However, in order to maintain the collection service to local residents while the anaerobic digestion and gasification facilities are under construction, the RBF is temporarily being used as a waste transfer station. This means it's also being used to store the food waste and black bag waste from household collections. Once the AD and Gasification facilities are operating, the food and black bag waste will be going directly into the enclosed tipping halls for treatment.