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Channel 5 Grime and Punishment show reveals true scale of Viridor's recycling challenge around Christmas

02nd January 2020

A TV show has laid bare the challenge faced by Viridor in coping with the huge level of demand on recycling facilities around Christmas. 

Channel Five's Grime and Punishment: Dirty Britain visited the Ford material recycling facility in West Sussex during the festive period to see how the centre coped with the increased influx of recycling at the busiest time of year.

Camera crews were shown around the plant by unit manager Russ Tuppen, who explained how he and his team relish the big task they are faced with at Christmas. 

Russ, a former Naval commander, told the programme: "We get about 78,000 tonnes of raw material delivered each year. It's Christmas time now so we're seeing the real peak. 


"We put on 30 per cent extra hours to cope with that extra material."

About 95 per cent of everything brought into Ford is recycled.

That includes paper, newspaper, cardboard and glass.


Viewers of the show are told that consumers throw out 13,350 tonnes of glass bottles during the Christmas period.

Russ told Channel 5: "Good wrapping paper can be torn and passes the scrunch test.

"If the paper were to spring open (after being scrunched up), it would indicate that there is plastic film in that wrapping paper which can't be recycled and it should go in your black bin.


"Once the glass is sorted it's broken down into pieces and at the 12mm size we split it. 12mm and above goes into what's called glass cullet, and it goes into re-melt back into new bottles.

"Sub 12mm gets turned into sand and it goes off for road building, so we're not wasting anything. Everything has a purpose."

Viridor operates 16 material recycling facilities across the UK, taking co-mingled materials from local authorities or commercial and industrial customers.

A combination of advanced mechanical sorting techniques and manual quality control is used to separate the materials so that they can be reprocessed into new products.


Ford is one of Viridor's 'next generation' MRFs, ensuring that almost all of the materials which arrive at the plant can be recycled.

For more information download our brochure.

If you would like to see how we can help you to recycle more, contact us to get a quote or enter your postcode to speak to somebody at your local facility.

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