Confused about recycling?

Image of hands holding up recycling

It doesn't have to cost the earth

Thanks to your efforts, Surrey is currently the top third highest recycler in England, with a recycling rate of 55.1% (Defra, 2021). But there's still more to do - our target for 2035 is 65%.

But we know how complicated recycling can be. At least one unrecyclable item per household goes into the recycling each week – and across Surrey's population of approximately 1.2 million that quickly stacks up!

Aside from the cost to councils and the taxpayer to correct this, it's bad for the environment and can impact our recycling rate too. A whole truckload of recycling can be contaminated and rejected because of one wrong item.

Small changes, big impact

So, if you're wanting to do your bit for the planet, here are some general pointers or 'hacks' that include a couple of free, handy resources that should help make recycling a bit easier:

  • Reboot your recycling know-how. It's tempting to try and recycle everything in sight, so play an interactive online recycling game to avoid 'wish-cycling'. This is a great one for the junior recyclers in your life too!
  • If in doubt, check it out. Some items look recyclable but actually aren't, even if the label says so. Use the SEP online search tool or download the Surrey Recycles app on the App Store or Google Play to know before you throw. Searches are based on your postcode, so you'll get an instant answer based on your area's rules (they vary across the county).
  • Get it sorted. Food and garden waste, small electricals, batteries and textiles recycling are collected separately in most areas, they don't go in your recycling bin.
  • Keep it clean and dry. No food or drink as moisture and grease will ruin cardboard and paper and make it unrecyclable. Empty, rinse and dry food and drink packaging before recycling.
  • Loosen up. Place all items loose – nothing in bags, sacks or bin liners. Crews need to be able to quickly see the items to check they are recyclable.

Thank you – these small changes won't cost anything, and especially not the earth!

Find out more by visiting the Surrey Environment Partnership website.

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