The amount of waste collected by local councils is continuing to rise according to latest statistics. These show an increase to 28.8 million tonnes in 2001-02, up 2.7 per cent on the previous year’s figure.The amount of rubbish being disposed of in landfill sites is also up, rising from 22 million tonnes to 22.3 million tonnes over the same period, though the proportion of rubbish handled in this way has actually fallen by two per cent to 77 per cent. In total, some sort of value was recovered from about 6.5 million tones through recycling, composting or energy recovery.Households generate almost nine tenths of the rubbish councils have to handle with every home accounting for 1.2 tonnes of waste per year. At the same time the number of homes which now have ‘kerbside’ collection schemes has increased to 58 per cent and the amount of waste collected for recycling through those schemes increased by 18 per cent to 1 million tonnes in 2001-02.
Of material collected for recycling, almost a third was paper and cardboard. Slightly less was made up by compostable waste with just less than half a million tones of glass making up 14 per cent.
Landfill is still the main means of waste management in every region but household recycling rates were highest for the South East, 17.7 per cent, and the East, 17.3 per cent. The North East, at 5.2 per cent, and Yorkshire and the Humber, 8.8 per cent, had the lowest recycling rates. Recycling rates for individual local councils varies from nothing to more than forty per cent but the majority of authorities recycled between 5 and 15 per cent of their household waste.
The Municipal Waste Management Survey 2001-2002, is available on the Defra website <http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statistics/wastats/index.htm> Hard copies are available from Defra Publications, Admail 6000, London, SW1A 2XX.