More than 40 per cent of England’s household waste was recycled, reused or composted last year, representing a new record for the country according to provisional statistics released today by Defra.
The government department hailed the record performance as “great news” after the figures showed household recycling rates reached 40.1 per cent last year, narrowly beating the government’s target of achieving a 40 per cent recycling rate by June 2010.
Despite recent research highlighting wildly varying levels of recycling, councils also improved their record of diverting waste from landfill, sending an average of 46 per cent of collected waste there. The figures represented an improvement of 2.3 percentage points on previous figures from March 2010 and form part of an ongoing trend that has seen the proportion of waste sent to landfill fall from 79 per cent a decade ago.
Environment minister Lord Henley said: “We’re recycling more than ever before and producing less waste in the first place, with people across the country working hard to make this happen.”
However, England still lags well behind countries such as Germany that have all but eliminated waste streams to landfill.
In addition, recycling rates of about 40 per cent are still well short of the 2020 target that require local authorities to increase recycling rates to 50 per cent.
The government kicked off plans for a wholesale review of England’s waste policy in June and will publish the results later this year.
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