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 is currently made into new products at plants in Merseyside, Essex and Flintshire. Some paper is recycled in Holland and Germany.


Cardboard is made into new products at plants in India, Pakistan and Turkey.


Steel cans are recycled in Wiltshire. Most aluminium cans are recycled in the West Midlands but a small amount also goes to Cheshire.


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


There are lots of different types of plastic, so they get recycled in different places. For example plastic bottles, tubs and trays go to Lincolnshire and Holland. Other plastics go to Redcar and Walsall.

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.

How do garden waste collections work during the emergency?

Get your garden waste calendar.

Will more be recycled in the UK in future?

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