Headlines: November 8th, 2007

The last year has seen more than 30 per cent of waste being recycled, the first time that figure has been reached. There was also a fall in the amount of rubbish being disposed of in landfill sites, but councils are warning that Britain is still ‘the dustbin of Europe ’.

Statistics from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs show the total amount municipal waste in England increased to an estimated 29.1 million tonnes last year compared with 28.7 million tonnes in the year before. More than 40 per cent of that total had some sort of value in terms of recycling, composting or use to produce energy or fuel. The proportion of waste being recycled or composted increased from 27.1 per cent to 30.7 per cent over the year.

Paul Bettison, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Environment Board, said it was encouraging to see people playing their part by recycling more and reducing the country’s reliance on landfill. “Residents and local councils deserve credit for substantially improving our performance on waste and recycling over recent years,” he said.

Although the figures were a move in the right direction he said the need to do even more was inescapable.“ Britain is still the dustbin of Europe, throwing more waste into landfill than any other country in the EU. It is pleasing to see our recycling rates exceed 30 per cent for the first time, but the fact remains other countries on the continent are still recycling up to twice as much,” he added.