Facts and figures about rubbish and recycling


Our household waste recycling sites (‘tips’) have begun reopening to the public. However, with social distancing still necessary, the service is restricted and we encourage you to only travel to a site if absolutely necessary. Only cars are currently permitted; there are revised opening hours at some sites; and there may be lengthy queues. See Coronavirus – rubbish and recycling in East Sussex.

If you are self-isolating with possible coronavirus illness, find out how to dispose of used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths safely.

A third of food grown for human consumption in the UK ends up being thrown away. 8.5 million new, perfectly good toys are thrown away every year in the UK. Over 20% of household rubbish is paper and card which can be recycled. Here are some more facts and figures about rubbish and recycling in East Sussex.

Household waste recycling site
Household waste recycling site

Did you know?

In 2018/19 in East Sussex:

  • the average household threw away just under half a tonne of rubbish
  • we achieved an overall recycling rate of 43% (household waste)
  • we only landfilled 4% of our black bag waste


We have set targets for managing our waste. They can be found in the Communities, Economy and Transport Department Portfolio Plan on the portfolio plans webpage

What is in our rubbish?

Our household waste, that is either disposed of or recycled, is made up of the following:

  • Putrescibles (garden waste, kitchen waste – cooked and uncooked, faeces) 34.22%
  • Paper and card 20.56%
  • Other (fines, miscellaneous non combustibles – building rubble stone, miscellaneous combustible – disposable nappies, sanitary towels, bottle cork, other) 14%
  • Glass 7.12%
  • Plastic 7.67%
  • Metal (ferrous, non ferrous) 4.87%
  • Wood 4.60%
  • Textiles 3.01%
  • Miscellaneous (large household items, black bags, electrical, ceramics, hazardous, oil) 2.51%
  • Soil and rubble 1.82%

How much do we recycle?

In East Sussex during 2018/19, 43% of household waste was recycled or composted.

Household waste recycling site performance

The overall household waste recycling site (HWRS) recycling rate in East Sussex for 2018/19 was 42% (household waste). This has increased through implementing improvements at the sites which has increased capacity for more recyclable materials.

The highest household waste recycling rate was achieved by Seaford HWRS, which recycled 56% of waste overall.