The official England ‘waste from households’ recycling rate for 2018 was 44.7 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points from 45.2 per cent in 2017.
Official figures, released yesterday (29 November) by Defra, show that total waste from households in England decreased by 1.8 per cent in 2018 to 22.0 million tonnes, down from 22.4 million tonnes in 2017. This is equivalent to 394 kg per person, down from 403 kg per person in 2017, a decrease of 2.2 per cent.
Residual waste treated decreased by 0.9 per cent to 12.2 million tonnes in 2018 from 12.3 million tonnes in 2017.
The amount of total waste recycled has also decreased, down 3.0 per cent from 10.1 million tonnes in 2017 to 9.8 million tonnes in 2018.
The tonnage of dry material recycled fell by 0.9 per cent or 51,000 tonnes to 5.9 million tonnes in 2018, while separately collected food waste increased by 7.1 per cent to 414 thousand tonnes in 2018, up from 386 thousand tonnes in 2017.
Ironically, despite current performance, achieving a new quantum leap in household recycling rates has never looked so likely, with the public now demanding change following the Blue Planet Effect and politicians of all colours showing willingness to act.
‘Other organic’ waste decreased by 7.2 per cent to 3.6 million tonnes in 2018. This is the lowest tonnage of ‘other organic’ waste sent for recycling since 2013.
The rolling 12-month ‘waste from households’ recycling rate was 45.1% at the end of March 2019. This is an increase of 0.3 percentage points compared with the previous 12-month period. These figures include IBA metal.
Commenting on the recycling rates, David Palmer-Jones, CEO of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said: “Stagnating English household recycling rates, now seen for the fifth year in succession, seem like a rubbish performance at a time when, over the past two years, the world has woken up to climate change and the important role recycling plays in preserving the planet’s natural capital. Ironically, despite current performance, achieving a new quantum leap in household recycling rates has never looked so likely, with the public now demanding change following the Blue Planet Effect and politicians of all colours showing willingness to act.”
Pat Jennings, CIWM’s Head of Policy, Knowledge and External Affairs, said: “There is little good news in the latest stats and overall they demonstrate the pressing need for the significant policy changes that have been the subject of discussion and consultation across the UK during the past 12 months.
“These should also be seen as just the starting point – the wider application of EPR beyond packaging to other waste streams will also be critical, and far more attention must be focused on stepping up efforts to prevent waste and promote resource efficiency and productivity. CIWM will be calling on the incoming government in England to ensure that the new waste prevention programme that is due out soon is ambitious, with tangible policy measures and smart targets.
“It will also be engaging with all the UK governments as the July 2020 deadline for transposing the EU circular economy package draws closer; continued legislatory alignment will be critical to driving change through product supply chains that operate at both a European and a global scale.”