Organics recycling rates are set to drop this year because of councils charging for green waste collections, according to an industry trade body.
Defra’s household waste recycling figures for 2014 showed a slight increase on the previous year, with 48.2% the overall figure.
The department said in its report that the rise had been largely due to an increase in organics recycling of 9.9%.
But Renewable Energy Association (REA) technical director Jeremy Jacobs told MRW the 2014 rise is misleading because it is based on a low figure for 2013, which was less than the previous two years and caused by cold weather.
This increase is unlikely to be replicated next year as many local authorities have started charging residents for green waste collections and food waste schemes are being pulled, Jacobs said.
A prolonged dry spell this year is also likely to give a lower figure than last year, he added, because grass is cut less and fewer arisings are produced.
“The trend is that local authorities are starting to charge for green waste collections and, where they do so, according to WRAP research, you get only a 40-45% uptake. People aren’t prepared to pay £50 a year; they’d rather take it down the tip themselves or, more likely, put it in the black bin, which there is no law against.”
The REA, along with WRAP and other trade organisations, recently lobbied resource minister Rory Stewart (left) for mandatory separated collection of organics and a ban on their disposal in landfill.
Other representatives called for streamlining and at least partial standardisation of waste collection across the UK.
The UK is currently aiming for a 50% recycling target by 2020. As it stands, the annual rate would need to increase by at least 1% a year to meet the figure.
Weight-based measurement of organics recycling can be unreliable, Jacobs added, with a warm, wet spring giving an unrepresentatively high figure due to grass cuttings being heavier.