Person carrying a cardboard box of recyclable items

Recycling 101

How your recycling makes a difference

We hear it all the time, but is recycling really that important?

Recycling helps protect the environment

When we recycle, used materials are converted into new products, reducing the need to consume natural resources. If used materials are not recycled, new products have to be made from fresh, raw materials that are extracted from the earth, through mining and forestry. Recycling helps conserve important raw materials and protects natural habitats for the future.

People sitting in a green space overlooking the city of London

Did you know?

At the moment, recycling in the UK saves us around 18 million tonnes of CO₂ a year, which is the equivalent to taking 5 million cars off the road!

Recycling means less landfill

When we recycle, materials are reprocessed into new products. As a result, we send less rubbish to landfill sites. There are over 500 landfill sites in the UK, and in 2001, these sites produced a quarter of the UK’s emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

A landfill site containing tonnes of waste

Recycling saves energy

Using recycled materials in the manufacturing process uses much less energy than that needed for making new products from raw materials. A lot of energy is needed to extract, refine, transport and process raw materials ready for industry compared with providing industry-ready materials.

Huge pile or recycling at a recycling plant
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35.8m plastic bottles

It's estimated that around 35.8 million plastic bottles are used EVERY DAY in the UK, but only 19.8 million of these are recycled.

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A-Z of recycling

You can use our A-Z search to find out if something can be recycled and how to recycle it properly.