Collect and Recycle

Recycling rate in England is now 43.6 per cent

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The 2012 calendar year saw a combined recycling and composting rate of 43.6 per cent being achieved by local authorities in England, according to Defra-published provisional data, a 0.6 per cent improvement on the previous 12 months – a development of interest to many of those recycling old computers, cardboard and other materials with Collect and Recycle (

However, although the recycling rate was higher across the whole of 2012 than the previous year according to the local authority collected waste statistics, the figures for the fourth quarter of 2012 seemed to show a recycling rate broadly similar to that recorded in the equivalent period in 2011. The recycling rate also declined from the previous quarter.

In the final quarter of 2012, a recycling rate of 40.9 per cent was achieved for household waste, an improvement from the previous year of less than 1 percentage point. It means that the annual rate of recycled household waste is now 43.6 per cent.

The final quarter of 2012 also saw a high for the proportion of municipal waste treated through energy from waste incineration, with the 1,457,000 tonnes of waste sent for incineration accounting for 25 per cent of the overall total. This compared to 20 per cent in July to September 2011, a 12 per cent rise.

It is thought that such a significant increase can be partially attributed to a heightening in the amount of refuse derived fuel (RDF) being exported overseas for recovery, with the UK’s principal markets for the material including Germany and the Netherlands.

Also revealed in the data was a decline in the amount sent to landfill – with the 2,004,000 tonnes that were disposed of in this way confirming that landfill remained the most favoured means of disposal for English waste collections. However, the figure, amounting to 34 per cent of the total, was still around 250,000 tonnes (4 per cent) less than during 2011’s equivalent quarter.

The data also appears to show a continued decline in waste arisings per capita, with 2012 seeing a total of 432kg being generated per person, compared to 2011’s figure of 441kg.

The findings from the data will be of interest to a wide range of UK recycling stakeholders, including waste disposal companies and waste management and local authority trade groups such as the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Environmental Services Association (ESA) and Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) – bodies that have recently criticised the government for its use of ‘outdated’ waste data when making infrastructure funding decisions.

All local authorities in England submit data to the government’s WasteDataFlow database, on which the released statistics are based. It is expected that data for the year’s fourth and final quarter will be published in November 2013.

We will certainly be keeping an eye on such developments here at Collect and Recycle (, alongside many other waste services providers across the country. In the meantime, turn to us for the most efficient and fully compliant services for businesses.

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