Your recycling and what happens to it


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Recycling benefit

Amount recycled
CO2 avoided
Disposal saving

Plastic constitutes one of the most widely used materials in the Northern Ireland and, as such, is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s waste. Around five million tonnes of plastic is used every year in the UK, including 7.7 billion single-use plastic bottles. Much of this plastic ends up on our streets or in our rivers.

Since plastic is non-biodegradable, it is important to recycle it properly to prevent it ending up in the environment. However, only about one third of household plastic packaging is currently recycled, with most households throwing away at least 40kg of plastic every year.

Recycling plastic can be tricky, as all the plastics collected for recycling need to be sorted into different groups depending on which polymers they contain. If polymers are mixed together when the plastic is shredded and melted during the recycling process, they will weaken the recycled product.

Furthermore, there is often confusion about which types of plastic can be recycled. You should always check the label on the product packaging or your local councils’s website to find out.

You can learn more about how to recycle plastic bottles and plastic tubs and trays on the Recycle Now website.

Where does plastic recycling go?

Top countries (selected materials) - 2022/23

Top UK recycling destinations

Country Tonnes
Northern Ireland 9,469t
England 913t
Scotland 287t
Company Country Tonnes
Cherry Pipes Ltd (Cherry Plastics) Northern Ireland 8,489t
Polymer Resource Ltd Northern Ireland 838t
Van Werven U K Ltd England 443t
BPI Recycled Products Scotland 268t
Biffa Polymers Ltd England 219t
Monoworld Ltd England 136t
Other/Exempt England 115t
Re-Gen Waste Ltd Northern Ireland 108t
WRC Recycling Ltd Scotland 19t
Eastwood Ltd Northern Ireland 14t
ERP UK Ltd Northern Ireland 13t
Envirogreen Polymers Ltd Northern Ireland 7t