Recycling rate in England falls to 43.8%

England’s recycling rate in 2020/21 tumbled by 1.7 percentage points compared to the previous financial year, when it stood at 44.5%, to 43.8%.

Recycling rates were at 43.8% in England in 2020/21

The figures come in data released today (15 December 2021) by the waste statistics team at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The 43.8% recycling rate is for ‘waste from households’, which is the official recycling measure used as the basis for reporting at a harmonised UK level.

Defra now makes more use of annual year figures rather than financial year figures, but historically the financial years have been used to reflect trends in the UK.

Recycling rates in England by financial years (source: Defra)

Also published today is the recycling rate for the calendar year 2020 which was 44%, down 1.5 percentage points from 45.5% in 2019.

And, the total amount of waste recycled decreased. In calendar year 2020, it was 9.9 million tonnes, down from 10.1 million tonnes in 2019. This was a decrease of 1.2%, the department said.

Waste volumes

Waste volumes rose by 1.3% to 25.9 million tonnes in 2020/21, with a slight reduction in landfill volumes of 200,000 tonnes to 2 million tonnes, representing 7.8% of all local authority waste.

Incineration of waste rose by 800,000 tonnes to 12.5 million tonnes. Incineration, or energy from waste, now accounts for the treatment of 48.2% of all local authority waste, Defra reported.

On an annual calendar basis, Defra reported that the tonnage of separately collected food waste sent for recycling was 485,000 tonnes, an increase of 11.0 per cent from 437,000 tonnes in 2019.

Related link
For more details, see the Defra statistics page HERE.

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