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England must channel ‘hard work’ towards urban hotspots

United Kingdom – The rate of recycling in English households from March 2014 to March 2015 increase 0.5% since 2013, now at 44.8%, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). However, recycling rates in England are down by 0.8 percentage points in London and 1.2 percentage points in the East Midlands.

In 2014, the total waste from households averaged 413 kg per person, up 2.9% from 402 kg per person the year before 2013. Total waste from households amounted to 22.4 million tonnes in 2014, an increase of 3.7% on 2013.

‘For the first time the amount of waste sent to incineration with energy recovery exceeded the amount of waste disposed to landfill – at 7.8 million tonnes and 6.4 million tonnes respectively accounting for 30 and 25 per cent of the total local authority waste,’ Defra says.

The dry recyclables waste stream totalled 5.8 million tonnes in 2014, representing 26% of all household waste. Most of it (41%) was paper and card, followed by glass (17%), while e-scrap averaged 8.5%, and plastics and metals totalled 7.4% and 4.1% respectively.

‘Greater focus’ is needed within England’s large urban areas – especially Greater London and the Midlands – where recycling rates have remained static or at worst showed ‘significant declines’ over the past two years, urges David Palmer-Jones, the chief executive of Suez recycling and recovery in the UK.

The slight 0.8% drop represents London’s second successive decline. On the other hand, recycling rates in Wales show a continual year-on-year improvement, now at a solid 56.2%. Palmer-Jones suggests England must act now to improve its overall ‘marginal’ increase in recycling rates if it is to reach European Union’s target of recycle at least 50% of its waste by 2020.

‘These latest figures show the amount of waste going to landfill fell 20% last year,’ Defra comments. ‘And the waste from households recycling rate was up on last year. This reflects hard work by local authorities and a desire from people to recycle more.’

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