Cheshire West & Chester Council has finished top of the Eunomia Recycling Carbon Index, making it the best recycler in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in terms of avoided carbon emissions in 2018/19.
The eighth edition of Eunomia’s annual league table, the Eunomia Recycling Carbon Index, showed that local authority recycling schemes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland saved just over 4 million tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking around 3 million cars off the roads or offsetting almost 717,870 return flights from London to Sydney.
The Carbon Index uses up-to-date waste data to calculate the carbon emissions avoided through each local authority recycling scheme, providing an alternative metric to traditional weight-based recycling measurements. As local authorities work towards the government’s 2050 net zero target, and some look to go carbon neutral even earlier, carbon-based metrics can help to local authorities improve recycling services in pursuit of those targets.
Cheshire West & Chester Council was the highest placing local in the annual table, saving 120kg CO2e per capita in 2018/19, ahead of last year’s winners, Welsh authority Merthyr Tydfil, which achieved savings of 119kg CO2e per capita. Cheshire West & Chester’s improved performance was largely due to a 3% increase in kerbside collected recycling tonnage, with more than half of the additional material being dry recycling. A small decrease in paper and card was more than offset in carbon savings from an increase in plastic and cans.
s authorities become increasingly focused on how they can achieve net-zero targets, I expect attention to be directed to how their waste management services can contribute. I hope to see many more authorities equalling or exceeding the performance of this year’s winners in future editions of the Carbon Index
Councillor Karen Shore, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport at Cheshire West & Chester Council, said: “Many congratulations to the recycling team, this is not the first time they have achieved the top spot as overall winners for England, Northern Ireland and Wales, I’m delighted they have done it again. We are only achieving such high recycling figures because residents are continuing to support recycling across the borough. By separating our waste at source, it’s paid dividends by producing carbon savings.”
Peter Jones, a Principal Consultant at Eunomia, added: “Cheshire West & Chester has consistently been one of the Carbon Index’s High Flyers, and I’m delighted to see the council rise to the top of this year’s league table. As authorities become increasingly focused on how they can achieve net-zero targets, I expect attention to be directed to how their waste management services can contribute. I hope to see many more authorities equalling or exceeding the performance of this year’s winners in future editions of the Carbon Index.”
Despite Cheshire West & Chester’s success, England’s overall performance continued to stagnate. Carbon emissions avoided through recycling increased only slightly to 69kg CO2e per capita, as the overall recycling rate increasing by 0.6% to 45.8%.
Northern Ireland continued its improvement on the Carbon Index, increasing the amount of CO2eq saved by 3.4% to 82.2kg per capita, with a recycling rate increase of 2.1% to 48.1%. Meanwhile, Wales remained the best performing country with an average saving of 93.6 kg CO2e per capita.
The latest edition of the Carbon Index shows countrywide trends for Wales, Northern Ireland and England across the years that the Carbon Index has been produced. Wales and Northern Ireland authorities show an average improvement since 2011 of 2.6 kg and 4kg CO2e per capita per year respectively, while English authorities’ progress has been more sluggish, at an average 0.5kg per person per year. The increase in England has been driven by authorities within the ONS ‘Prospering UK’ classification, which have increased by 1.1kg per person per year.