The value of materials saved from landfill and recycled instead has topped one billion pounds over the last five years.
Latest statistics for England show 33.8 million tonnes of waste have been sent for recycling since 2003. WRAP, the not for profit company charged with helping businesses and local authorities across the UK reduce waste, says the alternative cost of despatching the materials to landfill would have been about £1.8 billion.
WRAP is confident that despite the economic downturn leading to a global dip in demand for recycled materials, prices in the UK recycling markets are now stabilising.
The increase in recycling helps combat climate change, with the amount now being recycled each year in Britain equivalent to a million return flights from London to Sydney.
The Local Government Association, representing the councils who collect the waste, have welcomed the results, but pointed out that local authorities have seen only a fraction of the income, as most of the money left after collection costs stays with the companies who handle the materials.
The policy of promoting recycling is driven by space practicality as well as the climate change agenda. The association has warned that recycling efforts must be redoubled as councils are soon to face increased charges at increasingly scarce landfill sites.