Provisional results from Defra, released today comparing figures between the financial year 2010/11 and the calendar year January to December 2011, in order to negate seasonal fluctuations, show that the amount of rubbish going to landfill has fallen from 11.4m to 10.1m tonnes.

More waste was recycled, composted or reused in 2011 (10.8m tonnes) than was landfilled (10.1m tonnes) and half the amount of waste was sent to landfill last year compared with ten years ago.

Also 4.6m tonnes was used as feedstock for energy from waste plants in 2011 which was 18% of all waste compared with 15% the previous year and 14% the year before that.

This is accompanied by results revealing that household recycling is increasing at a slow rate – up from 41.5% in 2010 to 42.9% in 2011. Nearly 0.5m tonnes more of household waste was recycled in 2011 than in 2010.

Little-by-little, households are also improving in curbing the amount of waste they produce with 0.9% reduction from 23.5m in the 2010 financial year to 23.2m tonnes last period. However factors such as reduced consumption due to the current economic climate may also be at play.

Figures released this week by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that England is nosing ahead in terms of recycling. In the period of October to December 2011, household Scottish waste recycled totalled 36.7% whereas 40% was recycled in England.

Conor McGlone

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