Where recycling goes

Find out what happens to your recycling once it gets collected.

What happens to your recycling?

Your recycling bin collection from your home is only the beginning of a long recycling journey. After collection, it is taken to the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) at Great Blakenham, operated by Biffa. It is weighed on arrival and given a preliminary inspection before being shovelled onto a series of conveyor belts to begin the separation process.

The recycling enters a pre-sort cabin where large cardboard and unwanted items (such as black rubbish sacks) are removed for recycling or disposal.

The material then goes through a machine called a 'ballistic separator' which sorts light 2D material from heavier 3D items before passing through a large rotating drum (called a trommel). This sorts the material by size and removes materials too small for recycling (items under 5cm will not get recycled).

The next stage of the process is done by hand. Picking staff are responsible for removing unrecyclable items (such as black sack rubbish, glass, food and even nappies!)

Remaining materials are mechanically separated into different types using state of the art technology; optical sorters sort different plastics and cans are pulled out and separated from the plastic items by magnets and eddy currents.

Each of the separated material types are collected in different loading bays for compacting and baled for transportation to reprocessing companies, where they can be made into new products!

For a more detailed look, watch the process video below:

What happens to my recycling next?

The Suffolk Waste Partnership is committed to providing residents with information on where all their materials are sent for recycling. Materials which have been sorted and baled at the MRF are sent for reprocessing into raw materials in various locations across the UK, Europe and Worldwide, ready to be made into new products. These locations are shown in the following graphs and tables.

The data has been collected from the most recent financial year - 1st April 2022 - 31st March 2023.

Where does my recycling go?

Click through to find out what happens to your recycling.

(Click on the upward facing yellow arrow to return to the material list)

View the infographic of where recycling goes