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. 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 your paper is currently made into new products in Kent and India. Small amounts also go to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Germany to be recycled.


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Most cardboard is currently recycled in India. Sometimes your old cardboard goes to Turkey, Indonesia and Taiwan.


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All steel and aluminium cans are recycled in the UK, mainly at Swansea and Aylesbury.


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Most of your glass is recycled in either Barnsley or Aldershot. Small amounts of your glass are recycled elsewhere in the UK, in East Sussex, South Yorkshire and Merseyside.


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There are lots of different types of plastic, so they get recycled in different places. For example LDPE plastics (often used for bottles and trays) are recycled in Lincolnshire. Other plastics go to Northamptonshire and Rochester.

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 more be recycled in the UK in future?

We hope so. The government recently 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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