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Fall in organics collections hits England's recycling rate

England’s household recycling rates have dropped, according to provisional figures, with Defra blaming a fall in organics recycling.

The ‘waste from households’ rate was 44.3% in the year ending June 2015, down from 45% in the previous 12-month period.

This raises questions about the UK’s ability to reach its 50% recycling target by 2020, after Welsh councils also recently reported a flatlining after big increases in previous years.

Defra’s statistics report showed a small increase in the amount of dry recycling year-on-year, the largest material group recorded, but that was outweighed by a 5.7% fall in organics, the second biggest group.

“This decrease was driven by a…fall in ‘other organics recycling’ against unusually high figures in the previous period, particularly for January to June 2014,” the report said.

Total waste generated by households dropped by 0.6% compared with the previous year to 22.1 million tonnes, while residual waste increased by the same percentage to 12.3 million tonnes.

From April to June 2015, England’s household waste recycling rate was 47.2%, lower than 48.6% for the same period the previous year.

For the quarter April to June 2015, the amount of local authority managed waste going to landfill was 1.6 million tonnes, incineration was 1.7 million tonnes and recovery was almost 0.4 million tonnes.

This could be the last quarterly release of these statistics, with a Defra consultion on the frequency of publishing the figures closing on 24 March.

The department cited legal requirement, high policy need, alternative source and cost impact as reasons for the change.

The UK is currently falling short of its 50% recycling target for 2020, with a 65% target for 2030 currently being discussed in the European Parliament.

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