England’s preliminary recycling figures for April to June 2020 show a 3.4 percentage point fall compared to April to June 2019.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) points to disruption in local authority waste collections as a result of the first national lockdown last Spring.
The effect on local authorities varied, Defra said, but generally there were ‘disruptions and some cancellations of kerbside collections of recycling and garden waste’. There were also widespread closures of HWRCs.
In a statement, Defra said: “This is an ad hoc release making available waste & recycling figures showing the effects of the Covid-19 first national lockdown. The figures contained in this notice are provisional and will be subject to revision when data for the 2020/21 financial year is complete.”
England waste from households
The provisional England ‘waste from households’ recycling rate for April to June 2020 was 45.0 per cent, down 3.4 percentage points from 48.4 per cent in April to June 2019.
Metal recovered and then recycled from waste that has been through incineration (IBA metal) added approximately 1.1 percentage points to the recycling rate in April to June 2020, compared to 0.8 percentage points in April to June 2019.
In April to June 2020, total ‘waste from households’ decreased by 3.3 percent to 5.7 million tonnes from 5.9 million tonnes April to June 2019. This is equivalent to 102 kg per person, down from 105 kg per person in April to June 2019, a decrease of 3.3 per cent.
The amount of residual waste treated was 3.1 million tonnes, up by 2.8 per cent from 3.0 million tonnes in April to June 2019. This reflects increased tonnages collected at kerbside being partially offset by a large decrease in tonnages from HWRCs. 3
The total amount of waste recycled decreased. In April to June 2020, it was 2.6 million tonnes, down from 2.9 million tonnes in April to June 2019. This was a decrease of 10.1 per cent.
The amount of dry material recycled in April to June 2020 was 1.4 million tonnes, down from 1.5 million tonnes in April to June 2019, a decrease of 8.1 per cent.
The tonnage of separately collected food waste sent for recycling was 120 thousand tonnes, an increase of 12.2 per cent from 107 thousand tonnes in April to June 2019.
‘Other organic’ waste sent for recycling was 1.1 million tonnes, a decrease of 181 thousand tonnes or 14.3 per cent on April to June 2019. Whilst there were disruptions to garden waste kerbside collections, this fall reflects a large decrease in tonnages from HWRCs.
England local authority and household waste
In April to June 2020, total local authority managed waste was 6.3 million tonnes. This was 0.5 million tonnes lower (7 per cent) than in April to June 2019.
6.5 per cent of all local authority waste (0.4 million tonnes) was disposed of via landfill in April to June 2020. This was down 0.2 million tonnes (34 per cent) from April to June 2019.
Waste sent for incineration increased by 0.2 million tonnes (7.5 per cent) to 3.0 million tonnes in April to June 2020 compared to 2019. It was the disposal method used for 48.0 per cent of all local authority waste.
There are no changes to definitions or methodology for all local authority and ‘household waste’ recycling figures; IBA metal is not included.
2.7 million tonnes of local authority waste was sent for recycling in April to June 2020, a decrease of 0.5 million tonnes or 15% compared to April to June 2019.
Amongst the 335 reporting local authorities in England, there is considerable variation in ‘household waste’ recycling rates, ranging from 15.8 to 66.9 per cent in April to June 2020.