Recycling In England Slowly Inches Up To 44.2 Percent

Recycling in England has crept up to 44.2 percent for the calendar year 2013, and 0.1 percent increase compared to the previous year of 44.1 percent, according to the latest figures from Defra. 

The figures also reveal that quarterly data for January to March 2014 shows the rolling 12 month “waste from households” recycling rate was 44.5 percent. This is slightly higher than the 2013 calendar year figure of 44.2 percent.

In 2013 total waste from households amounted to 403kg per person, a decrease of 2.0 percent on 2012. Total waste from households amounted to 21.6m tonnes in 2013.

Local Authority managed waste going to landfill has fallen by 62 percent since 2003/04 with continued steady year on year decreases and was 7.9m tonnes in 2013/14.

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Local authority managed waste going for incineration with energy recovery increased by 13 percent to 6.2m tonnes in 2013/14 on 2012/13 and has more than doubled since 2003/04 with steady increases each year.

Local authority managed waste recycled or composted in 2013/14 was 10.9m tonnes, almost doubling since 2003/04. The proportion of all local authority managed waste recycled or composted in 2013/14 was nearly 43 percent, an increase from 19 percent in 2003/04 although increases in the last two years have been modest.

Newham London Borough Council and Lewisham London Borough Council had the lowest household waste recycling rates at 18 percent in 2013/14.

South Oxfordshire District Council had the highest recycling rate at 66 percent, with over 55 percent of their recycling comprising of green/organic waste.

Rochford District Council and The Vale of White Horse District Council both achieved recycling rates of 65 percent.

Ashford Borough Council increased its recycling rate from 12 to 42 percent from 2012/13 to 2013/14, following the introduction of new recycling arrangements, which includes green recycling (See CIWM Journal Online story).

This is the first publication of final figures using the “Waste from Households” measure for the calendar year 2013, replacing provisional figures published in August 2014.

Stalling Figures

In contrast to England’s figures, data released by Wales last week revealed that the country is recycling more than ever, with 54.3 percent of municipal waste reused, recycled or composted in 2013-14 (See CIWM Journal Online story).

Despite England’s stalling rates, however, an opinion poll conducted by CIWM Journal Online found that respondents remain positive with regards to whether England will reach 50 percent recycling by 2020.

The poll was conducted in response to WRAP estimating that England needed to recycle another 1.7m tonnes to reach the goal.

In her August blog, WRAP’s Liz Goodwin said that reaching a 50 percent recycling rate “is not going to be easy” (See CIWM Journal Online story) as figures were published showing that the annual rate of recycling of “waste from households” in England was 44.2 percent in 2013, remaining relatively stagnant on the previous year with just a slight increase from 44.1 percent in 2012.

CIWM Journal Online asked visitors whether this was achievable.

The majority (51 percent) said this was in fact achievable, while 29 percent said it was not. Twenty percent of respondents said that it was “too soon to tell”.

For the full annual results CLICK HERE

For an interview with Steve Lee on why England’s recycling is stalling CLICK HERE

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