30 August 2016 by Will Date

Eunomia names top recycling carbon-saving council

Cheshire West and Chester council has retained the top spot on Eunomia’s recycling carbon index, recording an estimated CO2 saving of 109kg per capita, according to figures published for 2014/15.

Resources consultancy Eunomia, which publishes the index every year, has claimed that the council’s 59.1% recycling rate, coupled with a source separated collection system, has resulted in the local authority’s table topping performance.

Cheshire West & Chester collects dry recyclables source separated from householders, as well as operating a weekly food waste collection and garden waste collections

Cheshire West & Chester collects dry recyclables source separated from householders, as well as operating a weekly food waste collection and garden waste collections

The Cheshire authority finished ahead of North Somerset (108kg per capita) and Ceredigion (104kg) councils at the top of the table, with Powys (103kg) and the Dorset Waste Partnership (98kg) making up the rest of the top five.

The London borough of Tower Hamlets came out at the bottom of the table recording a carbon saving of 26kg of CO2 per capita for the year.

According to Eunomia, the league table calculates the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that are prevented as a result of local residents’ recycling efforts. Results are included for councils in England Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland which uses a different recording method for recycling figures.

Calculations are made using recycling data from WasteDataFlow, with Eunomia using calculations set out by Zero Waste Scotland in its Scottish Carbon Metric to convert recycling tonnages into carbon dioxide equivalents.

The consultancy firm suggests that the index offers an alternative to tonnage-based recycling rates in assessing the performance of councils’ collection systems, adding that: “an authority that collects a lot of green garden waste but less paper and packaging may have a high recycling rate but will be ranked lower in the Carbon Index because a high volume of carbon is saved from recycling materials such as metals, plastics and paper.”

Policies

Commenting on the Recycling Carbon Index, Eunomia’s Director, Joe Papineschi said: “Progressive waste management policies, devolved governments and new collection systems are having a positive impact on the CO2 performance of recycling systems. Amidst some mixed results, there are some really outstanding stories. For example, councils collected 8% more food waste last year than in 2013/14 – despite only 37% offering separate food collections.”

Eunomia CO2 table

In its analysis of the data, Eunomia claims that across the board the total CO2 saving are up over 20,000 tonnes from 2013/14. Northern Ireland’s recycling saved 4.5% more CO2 emissions in 2014/15 than the previous year, Eunomia claimed, leading Northern Ireland to overtake England where just less than half of councils improved on the previous year’s results.

Savings

Recycling in England, Wales and Northern Ireland resulted in 3.9 million tonnes of CO2 savings in 2014/15, Eunomia claimed.

Wales maintains a significant lead over its neighbours, and 64% of Welsh councils improved their performance in 2014/15, the consultancy added, claiming that the Welsh Government’s on improvements in recycling rates, leading to an average CO2 saving from recycling in Wales of around 84kg per person.

Key facts on Eunomia’s fourth Recycling Carbon Index – 2014/2015

  • England, Wales and Northern Ireland together saved 3.88 million tonnes of CO2 through recycling in 2014/2015
  • Scotland produces its recycling figures differently, and is not included in the Carbon Index
  • Card recycling is increasing due to packaging created through online sales
  • Food waste collections are increasing due to public acceptance and authorities developing methods to progress towards the 50% recycling target in 2020

England

  • Improved carbon savings of 0.4% since 2013/14
  • Increased recycling rate of 0.2% since 2013/2014
  • Recycling rate of 44.7% in 2014/2015
  • 67kg of CO2 saved (on average) for every citizen
  • High Flyers (the top 10% of all authorities) include the following, in performance order: Cheshire West & Chester, North Somerset, Dorset Waste Partnership, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Somerset, Devon, Leicestershire, Wokingham, Oxfordshire and the Isle of White
  • Most improved: Middlesbrough Council

Wales

  • Improved carbon savings of 0.6% since 2013/14
  • Increased recycling rate of 1.9% since 2013/2014
  • Recycling rate of 56.2% in 2014/2015
  • 84kg of CO2 saved (on average) for every citizen
  • High Flyers (the top 10% of all authorities) include the following, in performance order: Ceredigion, Powys, Monmouthshire, Conwy, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Bridgend, Isle of Anglesey, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire
  • Most improved: Ceredigion Council

Northern Ireland

  • Improved carbon savings of 4.5% since 2013/14
  • Increased recycling rate of 0.8% since 2013/2014
  • Recycling rate of 41.4% in 2014/2015
  • 68kg of CO2 saved (on average) for every citizen
  • High Flyers (the top 10% of all authorities) include the following, in performance order: Omagh, Lorne, Dungannon & South Tyrone, Belfast, North Down, Banbridge, Antrim and Cookstown
  • Most improved: Dungannon & South Tyrone
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