Headlines: March 9th, 2005

The amount of waste that local authorities are recycling is continuing to increase across England but there are still wide regional differences according to the latest figures from DEFRA. It has produced the provisional estimates from its Municipal Waste Management Survey, which show a reduction in total waste and in the amounts sent to landfill.The results are based on information supplied by local authorities and cover the financial year 2003-2004. They show that the proportion of municipal waste being recycled or composted rose to 19 per cent from 15.6 per cent in the previous year. In the same period the proportion of waste incinerated for energy recovery remained at just under 9 per cent.

In total, 27.9 per cent – that is 8.1 million tonnes – of waste material had some sort of value from recycling, composting or energy recovery, an increase from 24.7 per cent -7.3 million tonnes- over the year.

Overall the amount of municipal waste fell slightly to an estimated 29.1 million tonnes compared to 29.4 million tonnes in 2002-03. The proportion of municipal waste being disposed of in landfill fell again from 75 per cent to 72 per cent over the year and the actual tonnage of waste sent to landfill sites decreased from 22.1 million tonnes to 20.9 million.

Almost 90 per cent of waste came from household sources, though the figure dropped by 1.5 per cent on the previous year’s and in absolute terms the amount of household waste collected for recycling increased by 20.5 per cent, from 3.7 million tonnes in 2002- 03 to 4.5 million tonnes in 2003- 04.

There was a 50 per cent rise in the amount of recycled household material collected through kerbside schemes which accounted for 42 per cent of the total household recycling.

The DEFRA figures show there are still significant variations in household recycling rates. The most successful recycling regions were the East, at 23.3 per cent, and the South East which recycled 22.7 per cent. The lowest rate was in the North East, 11.9 per cent.