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).

In the four areas where Joint Waste Solutions collects waste from residents, there’s good news in terms of the proportion of waste recycled but work to be done on how much rubbish is being produced per household:

Area Proportion of waste recycled KG of rubbish produced per household
Elmbridge 53.5% 410.2
Mole Valley 55.1% 366.6
Surrey Heath 59.3% 333.9
Woking 55.8% 359.7

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. The Surrey Environment Partnership (SEP) has 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? Request 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 SEP’s five quick wins for your bins.

And if you want to keep up with the latest news, tips, advice and inspiration, follow SEP on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and X.