In an unprecedented year that affected every aspect of life including waste, it was encouraging that Surrey residents continued to recycle diligently. 55.1% of Surrey’s waste was recycled, significantly higher than the national average of 43.8%. It was also pleasing to see that the proportion of Surrey’s rubbish that was sent to an energy from waste facility increased. With only 3.8% of Surrey’s waste sent to landfill, this is a positive result and is around half of the national average.
There was also an increase to 76.9% in the proportion of waste treated or recycled in the UK. Although market forces often influence where waste ends up, it is good to see that most of it remained on our shores. And on the occasions when it was exported, the organisations that did so ensured that waste went to an appropriate facility and was handled responsibly.
However, there is still work to do.
What will SEP do?
SEP aims to manage Surrey’s waste in the most efficient, effective, economical and sustainable manner. Our partnership’s priorities are to reduce the amount of waste produced in Surrey (with a particular focus on reducing food waste) and the amount of non-recyclable waste that is put into household recycling bins, and to increase the proportion of food waste that is recycled.
We’ll be aiming to do this in a range of ways. We’ll design and deliver projects that help and encourage residents to reduce their waste and recycle more, run regular communications campaigns nudging residents to change their behaviour, work to improve waste collection services, particularly at blocks of flats, and we’ll work with our partners to improve processes and policies.
What can residents do?
The change that would make the biggest difference would be if all the food waste produced in Surrey was recycled. Currently, more than half of it isn’t and is treated as rubbish instead. Additionally, with almost 30,000 tonnes of recyclable household waste being put in rubbish bins and 13.5% of non-recyclable waste being put in recycling bins, it is ever more important that residents know which bins different types of waste go in. If in doubt, they should check it out!
We hope that this report has provided useful information on what happened to Surrey’s waste in 2020-21 and has provided tips, advice and information on how small actions can make a big difference.