Where does your recycling go?

A variety of commercial companies turn your recycling into good, economically valuable stuff. Recycling is a global industry, of course, so they're not always in the UK, but currently 77% of Surrey's waste is treated or recycled in the UK.

Here's an overview of where your recycling goes.You may notice changes to when you looked at this page last time. That's because market conditions change all the time, and your recycling is sent where it is currently economic to recycle it. What do these companies do with your recycling?

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Most of our paper is currently made into new products in Korea. Small amounts also go to Indonesia and Germany to be recycled.


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Cardboard is mostly recycled in Turkey, France and Indonesia.


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All steel and aluminium cans are recycled around the UK including West Bromwich and Aylesbury.


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Most of your glass is recycled in South Yorkshire and Hampshire. A small amount of your glass gets recycled in Rotherham, East Sussex and Retford, all of which are in the UK.


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There are lots of different types of plastic, so they get recycled in different places. For example HDPE plastics (such as milk bottles) go to Lincolnshire. Other plastics go to Jarrow and Northamptonshire.

Why do we recycle fewer plastics now?

Food waste

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Food is recycled at plants in Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire.

Garden waste

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Garden waste is composted in various places, notably in Chichester and Portsmouth.

Get your garden waste calendar. Join our garden waste recycling service.

Will even more be recycled in the UK in future?

We hope so. The government has set out its waste strategy for England, part of which seeks to encourage recycling plants and new recycling technologies within the UK.

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