recycling in cambridge

Recycling In Cambridge: Recycling Rates & Waste Management

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Recycling In Cambridge

Cambridge, a bustling city in the east of England, is well known for its historic universities, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. However, the city is also a leader in sustainable waste management, with a long-standing commitment to recycling and reducing waste.

Recycling Rates In Cambridge

The recycling rates in Cambridge are impressive, with the city consistently ranking among the top performing areas in the country. According to Cambridge City Council, the recycling rate from April to June (Q1) in 2022/23 was 52%. Moreover, the city has set ambitious targets for the future of reaching 70%. The council is working towards achieving recycling targets by implementing various recycling projects and initiatives.

Recycling & Waste Management In Cambridge

Cambridge City Council has been working with residents to increase the amount of waste that is recycled by introducing new recycling services, such as the blue bin for paper and card, and the green bin for food and garden waste. The council also provides regular collections of glass, cans, and plastic bottles, as well as encouraging residents to compost their food waste. Additionally, the council operates five household recycling centres across the city where residents can dispose of their waste responsibly.

Another significant initiative is the Reuse Centre, which is run by Cambridge County Council. The centre accepts various items that are no longer needed by residents, such as furniture, bicycles, and electrical appliances, and makes them available for reuse or recycling. This not only reduces the amount of waste going to landfill but also promotes the concept of circular economy and reduces the environmental impact of producing new products.

Recycling Challenges In Cambridge

Despite the impressive recycling rates in Cambridge, there are still some challenges that the city faces in managing its waste. One of the main challenges is the increasing amount of waste that is generated due to population growth and changing consumption patterns. As a result, the council is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to reduce waste and increase recycling.

Another challenge is contamination, which occurs when non-recyclable items are mixed with recyclable materials, making them unsuitable for recycling. To tackle this issue, the council has launched several campaigns to educate residents on what can and cannot be recycled, as well as providing clear guidance on how to separate different types of waste.

Cambridge Recycling Initiatives

Repair Projects

Repairing and reusing unwanted items is the perfect solution to reducing waste. In Cambridge, there are various repair locations that you can take your materials. One example includes Sew Positives, who creates ‘make your clothes last longer’ workshops. There are also Repair Cafes, where volunteers repair your items. There are over 30 Repair Cafés, and there is support to get one started from Cambridgeshire Repair Café Network.


Emmaus Cambridge was the first Emmaus community to be established in the UK. Emmaus upcycles unwanted items such as furniture, offering workshops for the public to learn skills in upcycling. All items that are upcycled and restored in the workshop go on sale and help raise money to support their community, which is home to up to 44 people working hard to rebuild their lives following homelessness.

Sustainable Efforts At Cambridge University

Single Out Campaign

97% of the University’s waste comes from single-use items. They sent out a survey for students and staff to complete, including estimates of how many single use items they use and the different types of product. This helped them identify the biggest culprit for this waste, and prioritese solutions to minimise this waste. In March 2021 they ran two workshops, focused on the top items emerging from the survey, and used the input of staff to come up with practical solutions.


WarpIt is an online marketplace to help redistribute resources within the University for free. It is designed to make it easy for staff to find others with spare items that would otherwise have been thrown away. This gives ‘waste’ a new life and minimises waste generated at the University.


  • According to Cambridge City Council, the recycling rate from April to June (Q1) in 2022/23 was 52%.
  • 97% of the University’s waste comes from single-use items.

Recycle Business Waste With Us In Cambridge

We recycle plastic for businesses across Cambridge. If you are located in the area and looking for an environmentally friendly service then we are your solution! Our professional team can collect bulk loads of various plastics, offering great rebates for valuable materials. We also recycle cardboard waste for businesses in Cambridge, that are either baled or stacked on pallets prior to the collection.

Similar Blogs

If you enjoyed reading this blog, we have explored a number of other cities in the UK and their recycling efforts. This includes London, Bristol, Bath, and more.

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