Are you rubbish at recycling?

22nd May 2017 | Recycling

We throw away 407kg of waste per year on average. That’s nearly five times the weight of the average man. But where your rubbish goes and how much is recycled depends on where you live in the UK.

Wales was recently named as having the world’s third highest recycling rate, by sustainability consultancy Eunomia. Overall, the UK recycles 44.3% (Government data 2015). The best local authority manages to recycle two thirds of its rubbish. However, the worst recycles just 15%.

Four percent of recycling was rejected in England in 2015. This equates to 417,000 tonnes – the weight of about 745 fully loaded Airbus A380 aeroplanes. And the amount being rejected increases every year.

Rubbish at recycling

Things which are thrown into recycling which cause problems include

  • Nappies
  • Takeaway pizza boxes – grease and oil from the food creates recycling problems
  • Crisp packets
  • Polystyrene
  • Batteries
  • Non-target materials – anything which can be recycled, but which your council doesn’t collect.
  • And things which are often found in green/ garden waste recycling
  • Plastic
  • Stones and soil.

South Oxfordshire recycles the most of any local authority in England (67%). Its success is based on making recycling as easy as possible for people and provides residents with one wheelie bin for all recycling. It also collects textiles, electrical, batteries and food waste from the kerb.

Newham in London is the worst performing area, recycling just 15%. Barriers to recycling include a dense population, transience and relative deprivation.

Landfill is the last resort for black-bag waste and the UK is cutting back: 10 million tonnes less ended up there in 2015 than in 2010. But more than two-fifths of Northern Ireland and Scotland’s waste still goes to landfill. England burns around a third of household waste, mainly in Energy from Waste (EfW). These generate electricity or head from incinerating waste that would otherwise go to landfill.

More information available on the website below