Recycling benefit

Amount recycled
CO2 avoided
Estimated disposal saving
Reported as exported

Home and garden renovations often result in waste and debris being taken to a household waste recycling centre (HWRC). This can cover a wide range of material types, including brick, stone, concrete and soil. 

Much like in the construction industry, a lot of this household waste can be sorted to be reused or recycled as aggregate or soil, to partially or wholly substitute for the use of new material from the ground. These materials, when also counting similar recyclable waste from the commercial construction industry, make up the biggest fraction of the whole waste stream.  

Typically, local authorities will permit householders to bring a quota of hardcore, rubble and soil from DIY projects that the householder might reasonably have done themselves. Larger domestic building and garden work is expected to be managed through a private contractor, such as a skip hire company. This waste will, in all likelihood, go through the same process of separation, grading and reprocessing as rubble, soil and building material that is collected from a HWRC. 

In some cases, small-scale commercial builders and landscape gardeners will obtain permits to bring waste material, including hardcore, rubble and building waste, for recycling through a HWRC. Each council has its own policy and arrangements, so it is necessary to consult the relevant local authority to establish what is permitted. 

The data presented on this site specifically accounts for the rubble that is collected by each local authority at its household waste recycling site. 

Brick, concrete and stone from households are handled by specialist reprocessing companies that work to agreed standards to recycle or reuse the material. This involves a process of sorting the rubble and debris according to size through the use of screens. Some of the resulting materials are then crushed, depending on the planned use. 

The resulting grades of aggregate are applied to a range of construction uses, principally with concrete, but also in an unbound form as a sub-base for the construction of roads, pavements, drainage systems, embankments and other low-level construction. 

The use of recycled aggregates contributes to overall sustainability, not only in terms of carbon dioxide emissions reductions compared with the sourcing and use of virgin building aggregates, but also in terms of the environmental benefit of avoided soil depletion and land use, which will displace embedded carbon in the earth, as well as biodiversity when it is excavated for virgin construction aggregates. 

Where does rubble and aggregate recycling go?

Top countries (selected materials) - 2022/23

Top UK recycling destinations

Country Tonnes
Wales 107,491t
England 7,307t
Company Country Tonnes
Neal Soil Suppliers Ltd Wales 37,672t
Parry Harry Morrus Wales 12,156t
Llantrisant Recycling Centre Wales 7,934t
Lawrence Bros Wales 6,498t
Bryn Group Limited Wales 5,668t
Tudor Griffiths Ltd England 5,106t
Neath Abbey Wharf Wales 4,792t
Wrexham Borough Council Wales 4,436t
Neals Soil Suppliers Washing Plant Wales 4,312t
Scarfo Michael Rolando Wales 3,789t
CWM Environmental Ltd Wales 3,643t
Sims Group UK Ltd Wales 3,261t

Top world recycling destinations

Company Country Tonnes
unspecified unspecified 5,661t
Tekniskaverken I Linkoping AB Sweden 22t