Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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English local authorities make good progress on recycling targets

English local authorities make good progress on recycling targets

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (News Release ref 354:/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 6 November 2008

Ninety per cent of local authorities are meeting or even exceeding their household recycling targets, new figures published by Environment Minister Jane Kennedy today show.

The waste statistics for all English local authorities in 2007/08 show how individual local authorities are contributing to the national drive to reduce the amount of waste produced and then to recycle as much of that as possible. The results show:

* 90 per cent of local authorities met or exceeded their recycling targets;

* 90 per cent of local authorities had less residual rubbish (or 'black bag' waste) to collect than in 2006/07;

* 94 per cent of authorities recycled and composted more of their household waste than in 2006/07; and

* 72 per cent of authorities sent a lower percentage of their municipal waste to landfill than in 2006/07.

This shows a continued improvement on last year based on the audited Best Value Performance Indicators for 2007/08.

Environment Minister Jane Kennedy said:

"Recycling is now part of everyday life in this country and the way we think about waste has changed.

"Putting local councils in the driving seat is delivering results. The Government remains committed to supporting local authorities in continuing this revolution in recycling.

"Seeing ninety per cent of local authorities meet or exceed their recycling targets is an important achievement.

"These figures show many local authorities taking a real lead and I congratulate them. We need to keep this momentum going as we can all always do more."

Other key statistics are:

* The highest household recycling/composting rate was 58.4 per cent in East Lindsey District Council;

* East Lindsey were also the most improved authority, increasing their recycling rate by over 20 per cent;

* Nineteen authorities had a recycling/composting rate greater than 50 per cent in 2007/8;

* Nineteen authorities increased their recycling rate by more than 10 per cent;

* The largest decrease in household waste to collect per head was North Cornwall District Council - a reduction of 13.6 per cent; and

* Seven authorities had reductions in the amount of household waste to collect of over 10 per cent.

National Statistics for municipal waste management for 2007/8 in England and the regions were also published today. These results show:

* An increase in the national household recycling and composting rate to 34.5 per cent in 2007/8, from 30.9 per cent in 2006/7. This shows good progress towards the Waste Strategy target to reuse, recycle or compost 40 per cent of household waste by 2010.

* A decrease in the amount of residual household waste from 17.9 million tonnes to 16.6 million tonnes (by 7 per cent), again putting us on track for the Waste Strategy target to reduce this to 15.8 million tonnes by 2010;

* A decrease in the amount of municipal waste to landfill from 16.9 to 15.5 million tonnes (or 54 per cent of total municipal waste); and

* A decrease in the total amount of municipal waste collected from 29.1 to 28.5 million tonnes (by 2.2 per cent). There was also a decrease in total collected household waste from 25.8 to 25.3 million tonnes, or 1.9 per cent.

Further information on the ONS statistics can be found at:

Defra will continue to work with the Local Government Association, local authorities and WRAP to support local waste services, fund research and collate best practice to help lower performing local authorities improve performance.

Notes to Editors

1. The full list of local authority and disposal authority statistics are at:

2. Lists of the top ten authorities - those that have increased recycling rates the most; reduced household waste per head; and achieved the highest recycling and composting rates over the last 12 months, are at:

3. Municipal waste comes under the control of the local authority and includes household waste and other wastes collected by a waste collection authority or its agents, such as municipal parks and gardens waste, beach cleansing waste, commercial or industrial waste, and waste resulting from the clearance of fly-tipped materials.

4. 'Rubbish' refers to household waste that is not reused, recycled or composted. It is sometimes referred to as 'black bag' or residual waste.

5. Local authorities were working towards Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) targets in 2007/08. The BVPIs have now been replaced by a new streamlined system of National Indicators (NIs) for 2008/09.

6. There are three waste related indicators under the new NIs:

a. Household waste not reused, recycled or composted per head (kilograms per person, residual waste indicator);

b. Percentage of household waste reused, recycled and composted;

c. Percentage of municipal waste sent to landfill.

Further information on the new Local Authority performance framework can be found on the CLG website:

7. The information in this news release is based on data provided by local authorities to WasteDataFlow. For 2007/08 there was a 100 per cent response rate from local authorities.

8. Household waste includes household collection rounds ('bin' waste), other household collections such as bulky waste collections, waste from services such as litter collections, waste from civic amenity sites and waste separately collected for recycling or composting through bring/drop schemes, and kerbside schemes. The amount of waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting is that which is accepted by the reprocessor. As such it excludes any recycling rejects that occur during collection, sorting or further treatment. Waste diverted for recycling from the residual stream by further processing is included in the recycling tonnages.

9. The Waste Strategy 2007 for England set out new targets for the management of municipal and household waste. A greater focus on waste prevention was recognised through a new target to reduce the amount of household waste not reused, recycled or composted from over 22.2 million tonnes in 2000 by 29 per cent to 15.8 million tonnes in 2010 with an aspiration to reduce it to 12.2 million tonnes by 2020 - a reduction of 45 per cent. This is equivalent to a fall of 50 per cent per person (from 450kg per person in 2000 to 225kg in 2020). There are also new targets on:

* Recycling and composting of household waste - at least 40 per cent by 2010, 45 per cent by 2015 and 50 per cent by 2020;

* Recovery of municipal waste - 53 per cent by 2010, 67 per cent by 2015 and 75 per cent by 2020; and

* Further information can be found on the Defra website:

Public enquiries 08459 335577;

Press notices are available on our website

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