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Household recycling growth in England stalling

Recycling rates in England are levelling out compared to figures for last year, according to quarterly figures from Defra.

Defra’s figures show that the recycling rate has virtually stood still at around 43% last year compared to the 2011/12 financial year.

The provisional Q1 numbers reveal 45% of waste collected by local authorities was recycled, reused or composted - the same amount as Q1 the previous year.

Waste sent to landfill was less than 2.3 million tonnes in Q1, a decrease of 15% on the Q1 the year before, while incineration increased year-on-year by 20% to over 1.3 million tonnes. Household waste generation added up to 6 million tonnes in Q1 of 2012/13, which works out at 113 kg per person for that quarter - a decrease of 2% on the same period the year before.

The Resource Association (RA) praised the decline in waste to landfill but said that “flatlining recycling rates” were a cause for concern.

Ray Georgeson Resource Association

RA chief executive Ray Georgeson called for a greater transparency in the reporting of the recycling figures, which are submitted by English local authorities to WasteDataFlow.

“Until there is real transparency of data and reporting - from the point of collection, through sorting and on to end destination - debate about trends and performance on anything other than the real diminishing amounts of landfill will continue to be inadequately informed,” he said.

A Defra spokesperson said: “Businesses can save £22bn annually by cutting out wasteful practices, whilst in the home, £12bn can be saved by not throwing away perfectly edible food.

“More needs to be done and we’ll continue to work towards our goal of a zero waste economy with householders, businesses and councils all playing their part.”

There is a Government target for the whole of the UK of 50% household waste recycling by 2020.

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