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 now.

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 economic to recycle it at the moment. What do these companies do with your recycling?


Paper currently is made into new products in India.


Cardboard is made into new products at plants in India, Vietnam and Thailand.


Steel cans are recycled in Doncaster and Scunthorpe. Aluminium cans are recycled in Cheshire, Swindon and Swansea.


Most of your glass is recycled in Yorkshire. A small amount is recycled at plants in the West Midlands, Derbyshire and Cheshire.


There are lots of different types of plastic, so they get recycled in different places using different processes. For example, bottles, pots, tubs and trays are recycled in Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Essex or Holland.

Why do we recycle fewer plastics now?

Food waste

Food is recycled in Bedfordshire

Garden waste

Garden waste is composted in various places, notably at a large organic farm and vineyard near Overton, Hampshire.

Please note the garden waste recycling collection service is currently suspended.

Will more be recycled in the UK in future?

Quite probably, yes. The government recently set out its new waste strategy for England, part of which seeks to encourage recycling plants and new recycling technologies within the UK.