NO waste or recycling items left out for kerbside collections will be sent abroad from next spring - so long as UK companies can be found to take them.

Currently more than half of recyclable items thrown out by Somerset households remain in the county, while more than 90 per cent stay in the UK.

An annual report from Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) shows how every tonne of recycling in Somerset is helping cut our carbon footprint.

The county is ranked the seventh-best area in England for carbon saving, equivalent to taking more than 25,000 cars off the road for a year.

SWP's Beyond the Kerb – Recycling to Resources report tracks the destination of the 133,734 tonnes collected in 2018-19 for recycling and reuse.

It ranges from cans to clothes, glass bottles to garden waste, with the amounts, locations and companies, and the carbon saved by recycling.

The report shows that all 17,990 tonnes of food waste put out in small brown bins–are turned into electricity and farm compost at Somerset's anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. All 42,400 tonnes of garden waste also stays in the county.

In 2018-19, Somerset did not send abroad for reprocessing any glass bottles or jars, steel or aluminium cans, aerosols, Tetra Paks or other beverage cartons, or any of the 172 tonnes of water-based paint going for reuse.

Most of the glass was turned back into new glass bottles and jars, saving more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon. Millions of plastic pots, tubs and trays being taken at recycling sites stayed in the country and were turned into the raw materials for new products and packaging in plants across the country.

An SWP spokesman said that due to the lack of UK reprocessing capacity or demand, its collection and recycling site contractors send some materials overseas.

Just over half of Somerset's recycled textiles, clothes and shoes go to the developing world for sale and reuse, while a third of plastic bottles go to "legitimate and trusted companies" in Belgium, Indonesia, Malaysia, Slovakia and Turkey to be turned into more plastic bottles and packaging.

The SWP spokesman added: "We’re proud of what we achieved and take care to track every tonne of recycling, but we want to do even better in the future.

"As new recycling capacity comes on line in the UK - including the country’s largest plastics plant in Avonmouth, powered by burning Somerset’s rubbish - even more can be achieved.

"If there is enough UK capacity and demand, then from spring 2020 we won’t export anything we collect at the kerbside."