What happens to your recycling after collection?


At Tops Day Nurseries, staff and children are encouraged to separate waste from recycling and learn the importance of recycling. Children from across the Tops family have expressed their interest in recycling, with Tops Musgrove even having recycle buddies!

To continue the children’s interest, we would like to share information with parents for any questions your little ones may have at home, as well as for your own curiosity.

So what actually happens when recycling is collected? Once your recycling is collected it is taken to a depot. At the depot, your recycling is picked up and taken to a sorting facility.

The recycling is placed on a conveyor belt and goes through a series of machines which separate the different materials. Here’s how:

Paper and cardboard:

In a large spinning drum, similar to a washing machine, paper & card lay flat & pass over specially sized holes whereas glass, plastic and cans fall through the gaps.

Metal packaging:

Metal sorters separate steel cans out using a magnet. An electric current is then used to sort aluminium cans and foil.


Shaking and tilted tables with different sized holes separate recyclable materials by weight and size. Glass falls through the first gaps as it’s the heaviest.


Infra-red beams of light identify the cartons by their thickness & separate them from other materials.


Optical sorters use beams of light to show different plastic types and then blasts of air blow the types into separate baskets.

Recycling is an extremely interesting topic that delves into a huge array of processes, keep an eye on our blogs to keep up to date!

Tops Day Nurseries currently have a number of systems in place to help impact the amount of energy we are using, having replaced lights with LED’s, fitted timers and sensors and worked with colleagues to recycle and turn equipment off when not needed. We have also removed all single-use plastic cups and we would like to remove the use of as many plastic one-use items as we possibly can, to save the environment for our children. So balloons, straws, plastic gloves and aprons are all on the hit list, to be replaced with sustainable, re-useable options.  Our aims are “zero to landfill”, to recycle, upcycle and reuse rather than waste resources.  Please click here for more information.

Posted in: Sustainability