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Defra publishes historic waste data

Defra has published a summary of waste statistics between 2010 and 2012 which show that the UK’s recycling rate increased steadily over the period.

The figures have been published as part of Defra’s obligation to report data to Brussels and include figures for England, Scotland, Wales Northern Ireland as well as the UK as a whole.

They show that the overall recycling rates for the UK rose from 40.2% in 2010 to 42.9% in 2011 and then 43.9% in 2012.

The other key points are:

  • UK biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill in 2010 was 13.0 million tonnes.
  • UK BMW sent to landfill has continued to reduce and in 2012 was 10.3 million tonnes.
  • Estimated waste generation from commercial and industrial economic activities in the UK was 48 million tonnes in 2012, of which 39.4 million tonnes were from England.

In response, Viridor has warned that the historic increase does not guarantee that the UK its recycling target for 2020.

Dan Cooke, the company’s director of external affairs, said: “It remains touch and go as to whether the UK will meet the EU¹s basic recycling target of 50% by 2020. We must continue to challenge ourselves to do more if the UK is to truly deliver a circular economy.”

According to the figures, Wales led the way in terms of recycling after hitting 52.5%, followed by England (44.1%), Northern Ireland (41.7%) and then Scotland (37.9%), although it was barely over 30% in 2010.

Wales’ newly-appointed natural resources minister Carl Sargeant said: “Wales has long been ambitious to increase our recycling rates, to help generate secondary materials for the Welsh economy. We are already looking towards our Welsh target of 70% recycling by 2025.”

The Defra statistics for 2010-2012 can be read here

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