UK recycling rate increases 1.2%

The combined recycling rate for UK households was 46.2% in 2019, increasing from 45.0% in 2018, according to new figures released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The figures show the household recycling rate (including Incinerator Bottom Ash metal) for increased in all UK countries in 2019.

The recycling rate for England was 45.5%, compared with 50.6% in Northern Ireland, 44.9% in Scotland, and 56.4% in Wales

UK biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill has fallen from approximately 7.2 million tonnes in 2018 to around 6.6 million tonnes in 2019.

Provisional figures for 2020 show that 67.2% of UK packaging waste was either recycled or recovered, the same as in 2019.

It is estimated that the UK generated 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste in 2018, of which 37.2 million tonnes (85%) was generated in England.

Despite modest improvements, less than half of our domestic waste is recycled

The latest estimates for England only, indicate that C&I waste generation was around 37.2 million tonnes in 2019.

The UK generated 222.2 million tonnes of total waste in 2018, with England responsible for 84% of the UK total.

Commenting on the latest UK waste and recycling statistics published today, Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Camilla Zerr said: “Ministers are still failing to get to grips with the waste crisis.

“Despite modest improvements, less than half of our domestic waste is recycled, with the rest either burned or buried. Meanwhile the enormous waste mountain continues to grow.

“Plastic packaging remains a big problem. Provisional 2020 figures show an extra 220,000 tonnes was generated compared to 2017, casting more doubt on the government’s ability to fulfil its ambition for all plastic packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

“There has to be an urgent shift in emphasis towards reducing the amount of waste produced in the first place, with far more reuse, refill and repair, along with legally binding targets for reducing unnecessary plastic. This is what the public supports, and what the government has to deliver.”


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