Is England’s 0.3% recycling rate increase a sign of progress or just a bit rubbish?

The amount of waste produced by households across the country fell by 1.5% to 22.4 million tonnes year-on-year

England’s recycling rate for household waste in 2017 was 45.2%, up just 0.3% on the year before.

New government statistics show total waste from households across the country fell by 1.5% to 22.4 million tonnes from 22.8 million tonnes in 2016, equivalent to 403kg per person, down from 412kg per person the previous year.

Metal recovered and recycled from waste which has been through incineration is now included in this measure and added around 0.8% points to the recycling rate in 2017.

Year-on-year, total recycled waste in England decreased by 0.8% to 10.1 million tonnes in 2017 from 10.2 million tonnes in 2016.

There is an EU target for the UK to recycle at least half of waste generated by households by 2020 – the rolling 12 month ‘waste from households’ recycling rate to end March 2018 was 44.8%, a decrease of 0.3% compared with the
previous year.

The government statistics also show a wide variation in household waste recycling rates amongst individual local authorities, ranging from 14% to 64% in different areas across 2017/18.

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