England's recycling progress is too slow according to an Environment Agency (EA) report.
Last year it beat its national 17% recycling target and the amount of household waste produced fell for the first time ever.
However, the EA's A better place review of the environment in England and Wales said that although the tide may be turning, England isn't recycling enough to get near the 2006 target of 25%.
"However, it must be acknowledged that huge funding shortfalls from central government are stopping improved results becoming outstanding and this is the case across the board."
Sparks said that the successes of many councils showed that high recycling rates could be achieved, but added: "Local authorities have proven their commitment, the Government must now invest so that the country can improve its recycling performance on an ongoing basis."