11 December 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Recycling rate shows growth on annual year basis

Defra has said it is encouraged by the increase in recycling of household waste for the calendar year 2017, to 45.2% – up from a rate of 44.9% for the previous year.

The annual figure is more positive than the 0.3% decrease in the amount of waste recycled, composted or reused in the financial year 2017/18, as reported earlier today by letsrecycle.com (see letsrecycle.com story).

Recycling rates for 2017 on an annual basis showed an increase

Overall, England’s recycling rate, including composting, was 44.8% in the 2017/18 financial year, compared with 45.1% in the previous period.

Household recycling rates have traditionally been published by Defra for the financial year. However, with the publication of its latest results today, Defra has taken the opportunity to highlight the improvement in the figure for the calendar year. And, it also pointed out that the first quarter of 2018 saw a particularly sharp fall in recycling. While the department did not explain why this was, it could relate both to the cold winter and the impact of the China ban on the export of materials for recycling.

‘Encouraging’

Following the publication of the results, a Defra spokesperson said: “It is encouraging to see the recycling rate rising in England. People are producing less waste, less of that waste is being sent to landfill, and separate food waste collections are increasing.”

In terms of total ‘waste from households’ in England, 22.4 million tonnes was recorded in 2017 – down from 22.8 million tonnes in 2016. This is equivalent to 403kg per person, and down from 412kg per person in 2016.

This compares to 22.2 million tonnes of household waste which was generated in 2017/18, which means an extra 0.2 million tonnes was generated in the calendar year compared to financial.

The Defra spokesperson continued: “More councils than ever are now recycling over half of all waste and the increases reported by councils such as Sutton, Stroud and Colchester show what can be achieved by offering residents a comprehensive waste collection service.

“Our upcoming Resources and Waste Strategy will set out plans to make sure we continue to reduce avoidable waste and recycle more.”

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