Drop in England household recycling rates

Official figures released by Defra have shown that the rates of recycling of waste from UK households dropped for the first time in 2015. 

The England ‘waste from households’ recycling rate dropped from 44.8 per cent in 2014 to 43.9 per cent in 2015.

Recycling rates had previously been increasing slowly each year and this is the first time the ‘waste from households’ recycling rate has been lower than 44 per cent since 2011. The latest figures have caused concern about whether the UK can reach the required 50 per cent target by 2020 under the terms of the EU’s Waste Framework Directive.

CIWM’s chief executive Dr Colin Church said of the latest results: “After strong progress for more than a decade, it is disappointing to see the UK’s recycling performance starting to slip backwards. CIWM and other sector bodies have been predicting this for some time and Westminster must now sit up, take notice, and demonstrate its commitment to recycling." 

Wales was the top performing UK country once again, with an overall recycling rate of 55.8 per cent up from 54.8 per cent in 2014. Scotland and Northern Ireland both achieved a 42 per cent recycling rate for 2015.

In its commentary of the data, Defra says the decrease was driven by a 4.8 per cent fall in organic recycling, which was set against unusually high figures for 2014. This was particularly apparent from January to March 2015 and April to June 2015. There is a suggestion that a higher temperature and level of rainfall in 2014 contributed to a greater tonnage of green waste being available for composting than in 2015.

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