East Riding of Yorkshire council has praised the hard work of its staff and residents after achieving the highest recycling rate of local authorities in England for 2016/17.
The unitary authority achieved a recycling rate of 65.4% for the last financial year which was a slight drop from its 66.6% rate in 2015/16.
However, the recycling rate of England’s local authorities as a whole rose to 45.1% compared to 44.4% the previous year (see letsrecycle.com story).
Commenting on the result, Cllr Symon Fraser, East Riding of Yorkshire’s portfolio holder for strategic asset management, housing and environment, said: “We’re chuffed to bits! It’s a reflection of the amazing teamwork by the council officers and staff. But, also the amazing dedication of the residents and their hard work that actually delivers the recycling results. They do it, not the council!”
Cllr Fraser explained that the authority is continuously campaigning to encourage recycling and is always looking for ways to refine and improve its service.
However, he said there are still areas that the council is looking to improve on, and one push over the coming year will be to get more food waste into the composting bin – the council collects green and food waste together.
In terms of collections, which are carried out in-house, Cllr Fraser praised the authority’s “teamwork approach”. The collections crews “are the face of the authority, they are genuinely part of the community and are very much appreciated by the public,” said Cllr Fraser.
The authority’s recycling rate fell by around 1% point in comparison to its figure for last year, however, Cllr Fraser explained: “Annual results do fluctuate there are seasonal changes but our overall direction of travel over the last 12 years has been onwards and upwards.”
The council’s success comes after the authority achieved the largest gains in 2015/16, jumping nine percentage points from its rate of 57.5% in 2014/15 (see letsrecycle.com story).
Meanwhile, Rochford district council came runner-up with a recycling rate of 63.9%. The council’s waste and recycling collections are carried out by contractor Suez.
Despite the positive result for Rochford, today David Palmer-Jones, CEO of Suez recycling and recovery UK, warned that without a sudden increase in recycling rates for England the UK is set to miss the 50% target for household recycling by 2020.
He continued: “Some areas have shown high performance can be achieved. Top three performer Rochford district council has had an average of 65% over the past five years.”
Mr Palmer-Jones has called for a clear national strategy to end “stalling” rates of recycling. And, he suggested one of the reasons for the decline in recycling rates is that targets remain weight- based rather than being based on the value of resources being captured.
At the other end of the spectrum, Newham LB council achieved the lowest recycling rate for 2016/17 at 14.1%.
In response, a spokesperson for the council explained it faced many barriers to recycling and highlighted recent work carried out by the authority to reduce contamination.
And, the spokesperson added: “Newham’s waste and recycling is processed and disposed of by the East London Waste Authority. In 2016/17 around 10% of waste from East London Waste Authority was sent to landfill, compared to almost 70% in 2006/07.”
The annual data was published by Defra this morning (5 December). In regards to England’s overall recycling rate, a spokesperson for Defra said: “It is encouraging to see the recycling rate rising, less waste being sent to landfill and separate food waste collections are increasing.
“However, more needs to be done and we are looking at further ways to reduce avoidable waste and recycle more as part of our resources and waste strategy.”
“We are also working closely with industry, retailers and organisations such as WRAP to make it even easier for householders to recycle as much as possible”