Quarterly recycling rates reach new high

Quarterly rates of recycling in England have peaked, according to the latest provisional statistics from Defra. The rise is explained by an increase in organics waste collections.

The increase is the first positive sign in almost two years of slow growth in English recycling performance.
The figures show that between April and June 2014, around 48.5 percent of ‘waste from household’ was composted, recycled or prepared for reuse.

UK target

The UK will use the waste from household metric to report its progress to the EU against the 50 percent target by 2020, which was introduced in May 2014. It is a slimmed-down version of the previously used gauge ‘local authority collected waste’.

Higher recycling rates are a usual characteristic of the second quarter of the year, but the figure for 2014 is the highest registered since 2010.

Taking into consideration the 12 months to June, the rate stands at 44.9 percent, which is 0.8 percentage points higher than the annual rate for 2013. Originally, this caused concern over a potential standstill in English recycling when it was released in November.

Organic composting

Defra said that the peak in the second quarter of last year was down to an increase in organic composting such as mixed garden and food waste, garden waste and wood.

I comparison to the same period in 2013, the volume of such material rose by 17.4 percent.

Defra said that the increase may have in part been due to the warmer than average temperatures recorded in England in spring 2014. It is thought that this is likely to have driven an increase in green waste and encouraged more recycling of it.

The amount of food waste sent for processing also rose, with 11.3 percent more tonnages delivered to anaerobic digestion in comparison with the same time frame in 2013.

Dry recycling

Dry recycling increased by just under 1 percent year-on-year. Card and paper accounted for about 40 percent of it, with glass following on at 19 percent. Scrap metals, including WEEE, made up for a further 9 percent and plastics for 7 percent. Defra commented that the make-up of dry recycling has remained at similar proportions since 2010.

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