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Recycling in England not on track to meet EU targets

The mere 0.2 per cent rise in England’s recycling rate in 2012/13 is not a sufficient rate of increase to ensure that UK meets the 50 per cent by 2020 recycling target set by the EU, Defra has said. Users of Collect and Recycle’s (https://www.collectandrecycle.com) waste services may be intrigued to read the latest annual local authority recycling statistics, which were published by the Department on November 7 and reveal a rise in England’s recycling rate from 43 per cent in 2011/12 to 43.2 per cent in 2012/13.

The revised Waste Framework Directive of the European Union set out a target to recycle 50 per cent of waste by 2020, which the UK recycling rate will not meet at its present rate of increase, as Defra admitted in its statistical release. However, an ongoing EU-level review of waste targets may make this target subject to change.

“Much variation” between the performances of various English councils was noted by Defra, with a recycling rate in excess of 50 per cent being achieved by 73 out of 352 authorities. Topping the list with a recycling rate of 66.75 per cent was Rochford district council in Essex, followed by South Oxfordshire district council and Vale of White Horse district council, with 65.32 per cent and 65.13 per cent respectively.

Looking at English councils’ collective performance, there was a 13 per cent increase over the last year in the amount of local authority managed waste (LAMW) sent to incineration with energy recovery, with this manner of disposal being used for some 5.5 million tonnes of waste in 2012/13. Meanwhile, adverse weather conditions were blamed for a 27 per cent fall in the amount of green waste sent for composting in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the previous year.

2012/13 also saw a 7 per cent rise in commingled waste collections, as a 10 per cent drop was recorded in the separate collection of glass and cans from the kerbside. The separate collection of paper and card also fell, by 6 per cent. Defra suggested a number of possible factors behind such statistics, including a change in behaviour by consumers looking to minimise waste. 22.6 million tonnes of household waste occurrences were also recorded in 2012/13, representing another decline over the last five years.

A common theme exists among the highest performing councils of a slight drop in recycling rates. For example, this year’s top ranked council, Rochford, recorded a 67.4 per cent recycling rate last year. Such a trend across UK waste recycling has been attributed by industry observers to such factors as economic pressures leading to fewer packaged goods being purchased by consumers; a migration from glass to plastic containers; and a greater tendency to buy online, meaning more cardboard.

Indeed, those that would like to receive money for cardboard are entitled to get in touch with one of the leading waste disposal companies, Collect and Recycle (https://www.collectandrecycle.com), which offers an efficient, well-priced and compliant service for UK businesses and organisations.