Surrey residents joint 2nd best in country for recycling

A new report has revealed that Surrey residents are the joint 2nd best recyclers in England. In 2022-23, 54.0% of the waste they threw away was turned into something new, whether it was clothing, energy, fertiliser or new packaging. This sees the county way above the England average of just 41.7%.

The report also shows Surrey is going in the right direction on the two other key measures used to assess performance on waste:

• Surrey residents are throwing away less rubbish. On average, each household reduced their rubbish by 5.3%.
• The proportion of waste that was sent to landfill dropped to 4.4%, a dramatic drop which means that 95.6% of Surrey’s waste was repurposed once collected. If it wasn’t recycled or landfilled, it was turned into energy (36.7% of waste).

Of the new report, SEP Chair, Cllr Marisa Heath said:

“The new report is great news for Surrey, not just for the impact that residents’ waste is having on the environment, but also for the finances of the county’s councils. This is because fewer resources are being used to create new products, which reduces emissions and helps climate change. It is also a benefit as it’s cheaper for councils to process less waste overall and to recycle it rather than turn it into energy or send it to landfill; money that could be spent elsewhere.”

Further good news comes as it’s revealed that 89% of Surrey’s waste was processed in the UK. 83% of recycling and 98% of rubbish stayed on our shores. The more that is kept in the UK the better, as fewer emissions are used in transporting materials across long distances.

However, there are some words of warning in the report. The county is seeing too much contamination, when too many items that can’t be recycled are found in recycling trucks causing the whole truckload, including legitimately recyclable material, to be rejected for recycling. And while it’s good that Surrey residents are producing less waste, the county comes in 16th out of 29 similar waste disposal authorities in England so can improve.

To help Surrey climb the waste league tables we need to reduce what we throw away, recycle more of what we do and make sure that what goes into recycling bins can definitely be recycled. We have lots of resources and advice to help you with that:

• Sign up to Rethink Waste. It’s a great and free scheme that thousands of Surrey households are already taking part in. It can help you reduce what you throw away while earning points you can use to donate to charities and schools or to enter prize draws.
• Recycle your food waste. Most households in Surrey already do so if yours doesn’t, why not join them? Ask your local council for a food bin if you don’t have one.
• Get to know the Surrey Recycles search tool and app. Just type in your postcode and an item and it will tell you the best thing to do with it where you live.
• To make sure you get the right bin every time, check out our five quick wins for your bins.

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