Our latest Recycling Tracker report shows Somerset’s continued great work and progress.

An infographic highlighting volumes of waste collected and where it goes.

Our recycling tracker shows what happens to recycling which is collected each year – and how much is collected. We share what happens to every tonne that’s collected, the companies involved and its likely use as new packaging and products.

During 2022-23 :

  • 142,524 tonnes of recycling was collected
  • 56.4% recycling rate
  • 96.6% of all recycling stayed in the UK
  • 100% of plastics were recycled in the UK
  • 54.4% of recycling stayed in Somerset
  • Only 6,444 tonnes of waste went to landfill
  • 125,254 tonnes of carbon was saved by recycling instead of landfill

Tracking what happens after each tonne of waste is collected shows that the reprocessing companies used are legitimate – no recycling is burned, dumped or ends up in the ocean.

Our recycling in Somerset could become anything from cardboard boxes and plastic pipes, to soil conditioner and car parts.

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Recycling Tracker report 2022 – 23

Download the 2022-23 Recycling Tracker in full

PDF, 304KB

What happens to the waste we collect

Waste is collected and sold for reprocessing on our behalf by our contractors Suez and Biffa. Together, we have a commitment that all materials collected for recycling will stay in the UK if there is the reprocessing capacity and demand.

The excellent kerbside sorting into boxes and bags helps us get more recycling reprocessed closer to home.  You can read more about this on our page Sorting your recycling into containers

Kerbside sorting reduces contamination by other materials and that makes it easier to sell to UK-based companies.

The amount of waste we handled

142,524 tonnes of recycling was collected and 96.6% of Somerset’s recycling was reprocessed in the UK, 54.4% of which stayed in the county.

Only mixed paper and cardboard was exported outside of the UK.

Plastics – 100% stayed in the UK

This was the first full year to show the impact of our ‘Recycle More’ kerbside recycling scheme. Somerset’s plastics performance shows that 6,463 tonnes, of plastic bottles, pots tubs and trays were collected – each one recycled here in the UK.

Food waste

More than 23,000 tonnes collected, all recycled in Somerset.

The amount of food waste collected has reduced, which is great news as food waste is a large contributor to climate change. Reducing food waste helps the environment, while saving residents money by using what you already have.

Food waste is transformed into electricity by the anaerobic digestion plant at Walpole near Bridgwater. Powering homes and businesses, plus farm compost to help grow more food.

Garden waste – stays in Somerset.

This year, 41,330 tonnes of garden waste was collected either from our kerbsides or at household recycling sites. This is a drop from the year before, likely because of the particularly dry summer in 2022. Garden waste is composted in Somerset and turned into the Revive soil improver, available to buy from our recycling sites.

Paper, card and glass

Paper and card at 25,083 tonnes, and glass at 17,843 tonnes have both reduced in volume. A reduction in waste could mean a couple of things – and is often linked to external influences.

  • Households and businesses are committed to reduced packaging options. Although the recycling rate is down, the amount of refuse collected has not increased.
  • It could also reflect the current cost of living crisis, with residents spending less and therefore less waste being produced at home.

Pioneered in 2008, Somerset was the first waste authority to publish this kind of annual, detailed breakdown.

Somerset’s impressive recycling rate puts it among the leading authorities for recycling, with plenty of potential for residents to raise that even further. It also makes Somerset one of the very best areas for carbon saving. That is all down to the kerbside sorting producing the kind of low-contamination, high-quality materials the market demands.

How materials are recycled

See the Find out how materials are recycled table at full width

Last reviewed: June 27, 2024 by Jenny

Next review due: December 27, 2024

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