Households step up recycling

The amount of waste being sent to landfill in England dropped slightly in 2007 and household recycling went up, new figures from Defra have suggested.

Provisional estimates from the department’s survey of household waste show total waste decreased just 0.3% in the twelve months up to September 30, decreasing from 29.1m tonnes to 29m tonnes.

Total household waste also fell slightly from 25.8m to 25.7m tonnes, and the amount being sent to landfill dropped from 16.9m to 16.1m tonnes.

But one of the biggest changes was in the household recycling rate, which jumped from an average of 30.9% between April 2006 and March 2007 to 33.2% between October 2006 and September 2007.

In the same timeframe, the average amount of residual household waste produced per person also decreased from 353kg to 340kg.

The east and south west had the highest household waste recycling figures, each managing 40%, while London had the lowest, with a mere 24%.

“It is very encouraging to see people doing their bit for the environment by recycling more and reducing this country’s reliance on landfill,” Councillor Paul Bettison, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Environment Board, said.

But he added there was still an “inescapable need” to do more to cut down on Britain’s mountains of rubbish.

“It is vital we look at alternatives to the status quo to deliver an ever better deal for the taxpayer,” Cllr Bettison said.

The LGA has regularly dubbed Britain the dustbin of Europe for its record on landfill.

Defra’s estimates are based on new data submitted by local authorities covering July to September 2007, added to data from October 2006 to June 2007.

Tables showing summary estimates and regional data can be found here

Kate Martin

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