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 India. Small amounts also go to Germany and Kent, UK to be recycled.


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Cardboard is mostly recycled in Turkey. Small amounts also go to Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Kent, UK.  


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


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Most of your glass is recycled in South Yorkshire and Sussex. A small amount of your glass gets recycled in Cheshire and East Sussex, 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 Bristol and Staines Upon Thames. 

Why do we recycle fewer plastics now?

Food waste

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Food is recycled at plants in Hertfordshire and Essex.

Garden waste

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Garden waste is composted in various places, all in the UK, notably in Sussex, near Chichester and in Hampshire.

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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