England recycling rate up – East Riding tops table

England’s recycling rate, including composting, returned to growth in the financial year 2016/17 with a rise to 45.1% compared to 44.4% the previous financial year.

East Riding council has been heralded as an example of a well-run in sourced

[Note: the 44.4% figure has been amended from an earlier 43.9% figure which was for calendar year 2016].

But while top performing authorities were in the mid 60% levels for recycling and composting, London councils took the three bottom places below 18%, – Newham, Westminster and Lewisham. All three have traditionally been low performers.

East Riding
East Riding of Yorkshire council is top performer in 2016/17: pictured, in-house service

East Riding of Yorkshire

In the figures for waste from households recycling and composting published today (5 December) by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, last year’s second place authority, the unitary council of East Riding of Yorkshire, has taken top place with a 2016/17 recycling rate of 65.4%. But this figure is down 1.2% on East Riding’s result for the previous year. The council’s services are provided in-house.


Rochford district council in Essex came in second place this time around, the collection authority has traditionally been one of the higher performers. Serviced by contractor Suez UK, the council achieved 63.9%, beating South Oxfordshire by just 0.1% reflecting close positioning for second, third and fourth places.

South Oxfordshire

The top performing authority last year (2015/16) was South Oxfordshire district council and the authority (collection, not unitary) has come in third in 2016/17 with a rate of 63.8%. When it was top, the authority – which has Biffa as its contractor – reported a rate of 66.6%. Tighter controls of MRF output figures are thought to be one factor in the reduction to 63.8%.

Poor performers

Both Newham and Lewisham are in deprived areas of London and their recycling rates have traditionally been low although measures are being implemented by the London Waste and Recycling Board to help increase recycling rates in inner London.

Westminster city council also has little green waste to boost figures plus an estimated 30% of its household waste is in the form of litter from tourists visiting the area. It also has a substantial number of old high rise properties.

England recycling rate, top councils

England recycling rate

England’s performance in terms of recycling and composting can be seen in the table (right).

The chart shows that since 2009/10, there has been an increase of just under 4.9% over a seven year period.

Data source
Data is compiled by WasteDataFlow for Defra using figures submitted by local authorities. The figures can be seen at:
Defra statistical data


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