Dawn In The Surrey Hills

Creating a greener, cleaner Surrey

Surrey Environment Partnership Review April 2019 – March 2020

Activity and achievements

Managing Surrey’s waste: Clearing up confusion

Example service guidesContamination of recycling bins continues to be an issue in Surrey. This happens when a bin contains items that can’t be recycled and can result in it not being emptied or a truck load being rejected which is costly and impacts recycling rates.

Two partnership projects are designed to help residents understand what should go into each of their bins. These run alongside localised communication undertaken by each partner authority and where appropriate direct engagement to address repeated issues.

Service guides

An annual service guide is produced and distributed for each district and borough with the option to also include a collection calendar. This is based on a consistent template and both print and distribution are procured in bulk, significantly reducing the time and cost of each authority producing their own guide.

Previous research with residents has shown that the guide has very high awareness with 79% saying they had found out something new from it.

In 2019-20:

  • The template was updated to improve the design and readability following feedback from the previous year.
  • The template was adapted for each area to reflect any local differences in the service.
  • A total of 486,322 guides were printed, including extras for use with new properties.
  • A total of 471,806 were distributed using a complex process to ensure a delivery rate of 99 – 100%.

Food waste recycling

Some good progress has been made on the amount of food waste that is being captured for recycling over the past few years. But there is still a significant amount going into rubbish bins instead of food caddies, so it’s an important material to continue to focus on.

The 2019-20 food waste recycling campaign was a build on the campaigns that were delivered in the previous two years.

The first of these highlighted the amount of money that could be saved by residents recycling all their food waste. The follow-up campaign highlighted success to date, congratulated residents on saving £200,000 and encouraged them to do more. Tonnages increased further as a result of this campaign, so for 2019-20 we continued the theme highlighting an annual saving of £310,000.

Highlights from the evaluation included:

  • 86% of residents now use the food waste collection service with 87% of this group using it every week.
  • The number of residents who use the caddy because it saves the council money has overtaken the number who use it because it helps the environment.
  • Most people were aware of the campaign via radio advertising followed by print advertising, outdoor advertising and online advertising.
  • The campaign motivated over 40% of residents to put more food in their caddy.
  • Facebook and Twitter posts were seen 66,690 times, generating 4,736 engagements (likes, comments, shares, retweets).

Recycling search tool and app

Surrey Online search tool on a mobile phone and laptopThe Surrey Recycles online search tool and app allows Surrey residents to put in their postcode and search for an item to find out how to recycle or dispose of it. The tool is embedded on most authorities’ websites and on SEP’s website.

Usage of the search tool and app continued to increase during 2019-20 with more searches than any previous year.

  • 263,975 searches took place, nearly 50,000 more than the previous year.
  • The phone app was downloaded 2,195 times, up from 1,803 in 2018-19.
  • In total, there have been 652,240 searches and 9,269 downloads of the app since it was launched.

Over the year, details of what happens to items when they are recycled and information on other recycling services (such as Terracycle) that residents can use for items their local authority doesn’t recycle, were added to the search results.

Many new items were also added to the tool and work is underway to simplify the results residents receive and to make available versions of the app in several minority languages.

The search tool has also proved a useful way for residents to find out about waste and recycling services during the coronavirus pandemic. Results are updated quickly so residents can find out the current status of local collection services and Community Recycling Centres.

See also

Surrey’s target


70% of Surrey’s waste should be recycled.