Confused About Recycling? Veolia is here to help!

Following a recent study, Veolia, Southend City Council’s environmental partner, discovered that a staggering 58% of what residents are putting in their rubbish bins should have been recycled.

To help residents better understand what they can recycle and reduce this unnecessary waste, Veolia is launching a campaign to raise awareness. By focusing on commonly missed items such as food waste, empty aerosol cans, plastic pots and trays, Veolia wants to help clear up some of the confusion for Southend residents.

By empowering residents with the knowledge and tools they need to recycle as much as possible, Veolia and the Council are aiming to deliver ecological transformation and reduce waste across the City.

So, what do we need to know?

  • Southend residents can recycle a wide range of clean and empty packaging items in the pink recycling sack: cans, tins and foils, glass bottles and jars, food and drink cartons, plastic packaging such as bottles, pots, tubs and trays. 
  • The pink recycling sacks collected locally are taken to a sorting facility operated by Veolia in Southwark, where they are split and the materials sorted into their different types. These are then sent on to different reprocessors where they are made into new things.
  • In Southend, residents can also recycle any cooked or uncooked food, vegetable and fruit peelings, tea bags, bones, egg shells and plate scrapings in the food waste caddy. No amount of food waste is too small! 
  • Food waste is then sent to an Anaerobic Digestion plant where it is turned into organic fertilisers that farmers use to grow more crops. The gases produced in this process are captured and used to drive a turbine which generates electricity too.
  • Pink recycling sacks and food waste liners are delivered to every household twice a year. Additional rolls can be collected from the Civic Centre, libraries across the City or requested via the MySouthend portal. Residents missing a kitchen or kerbside caddy can request a new one via the MySouthend portal ( The new container will be delivered for free to their doorstep by a dedicated crew.

Recycling doesn’t have to be confusing. More information on the service can be found at:

Keep an eye on your social media feeds from 6th November too to catch Veolia’s colourful and easy to understand gifs that will help you identify commonly missed items that we should be saving from our bins in Southend!

Stuart Atkinson, Senior Contract Manager for Veolia UK said: 
“More and more people in Southend understand that recycling is one of the most important and easiest things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. In the UK alone, recycling saves about 10-15 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year - this is the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road! With this campaign we hope that every resident will learn about one or two new items they did not know could be recycled and start keeping them out of their black sacks. If we all recycle a little bit more every week, we will make a big difference for our local community and the planet.”

Cllr Meg Davidson, cabinet member for environment, Southend City Council said:
"Empowering our residents with the knowledge and tools they need to recycle effectively is a crucial step towards a more sustainable future for Southend. Together with Veolia, we aim to lead the way in reducing our carbon footprint and significantly reducing waste across our city. Every small effort counts towards a greener, cleaner environment for all."


Animations showing items frequently missed from the recycling
Animations showing food waste frequently missed from the recycling