England’s 2017 Recycling Figures Show 0.3% Increase

The official England waste from households recycling rate for 2017 was 45.2%, up 0.3 percentage points from 44.9% in 2016, according to the latest figures.

Total ‘waste from households’ in England decreased by 1.5% in 2017 to 22.4 million tonnes from 22.8 million tonnes in 2016. This is equivalent to 403 kg per person, down from 412 kg per person in 2016 a decrease of 2.2%.

Residual waste treated decreased by 2.1% to 12.3 million tonnes in 2017 from 12.5 million tonnes in 2016.

Total recycled waste in England decreased by 0.8% to 10.1 million tonnes in 2017 from 10.2 million tonnes in 2016.

Dry recycling volumes fell by 2.1 per cent to 5.9 million tonnes in 2017 from 6.0 million tonnes in 2016. Other organic waste remained stable at 3.8 million tonnes in both years. Separate food waste collected for recycling increased by 8.7% in 2017 to 386 thousand tonnes from 355 thousand tonnes in 2016.

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of Suez – “Although the 2017 figures show an increase of 0.3 percentage points in household waste recycling from 2016, this is undermined by the rolling 12-month household recycling rate to March 2018, which shows a 0.3 percentage point decline compared with the previous period between 2016/17.”

There is an EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50% of waste generated by households by 2020. The England ‘waste from households’ figures seen here make a significant contribution to the UK estimates, which are published in UK Statistics on Waste.

David Palmer-Jones, CEO of Suez recycling and recovery UK commented on the figures: “Today’s annual recycling statistics unfortunately continue to show that the country remains in the recycling doldrums, after more than a decade of hard-won behavioural change.

“Although the 2017 figures show an increase of 0.3 percentage points in household waste recycling from 2016, this is undermined by the rolling 12-month household recycling rate to March 2018, which shows a 0.3 percentage point decline compared with the previous period between 2016/17.

Figures also showed rolling 12 month ‘waste from households’ recycling rate to end March 2018 was 44.8%. This is a decrease of 0.3 percentage points compared with the previous 12 month period to March 2017.

Metal recovered and recycled from waste which has been through incineration (IBA metal) now included in this measure, added around 0.8 percentage points to the recycling rate in 2017.

Palmer-Jones continued: “The lack of progress is a reflection of the challenges facing the global recycling market; cuts to consumer communication and perhaps consumer apathy and the majority of domestic political activity being focussed on other areas in recent years.

“The imminent Resources and Waste Plan from Defra offers an opportunity for the nation to make an environmental step change, but is not going to be an immediate panacea to the current dwindling performance. We do, however, believe that Defra’s plan will provide a longer-term roadmap for the nation’s journey towards a circular economy and will deliver positive direction for businesses, consumers and the environment.”

For the full statistics, click here


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  1. ‘Circular economy’ – deliver positive direction for businesses’: all baloney folks. We all know that until central government provides far more financial intervention (extra finance for the councils, creating real re-processing infrastructure, etc) we’ll be hearing the same comments a year from now when next year’s figures are announced.

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