Two-thirds of local authorities met or exceeded their household recycling targets for 2005/06 according to newly released figures.
Topping the leader board were two East Midlands councils: North Kesteven (51.5%) and Rushcliffe (49.9%).
Meanwhile, two London local authorities found themselves with the worst recycling rates in the country. Inner-city council Tower Hamlets found itself at the very bottom of the table and the only council with a single-digit recycling rate, with a recycling rate of 8.9%. And Newham fared only slightly better with a rate of 10.1%.
Although over half of local authorities met or exceeded the national target of 25%, the variance in the performance of councils was highlighted by Local Environment minister Ben Bradshaw.
This is a fantastic achievement by householders and local authorities. Recycling is a vital part of our battle against dangerous climate change. The emission saved by current levels of recycling is the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off our roads. But performance is still far too patchy with some local authorities recycling more than 50% and some still down in the low teens, he said.
A number of local authorities will be summoned to explain their poor performance, Bradshaw added.
Regional patterns did emerge from the results. Eight of the ten top performing councils were located in either the East Midlands or the East. While seven of the ten worst performers were in either London or the North.