A one per cent rise in recycling rates to 35.5 per cent in England has been welcomed, as WasteDataFlow figures for the latest quarter have been published. To avoid seasonal distortion, comparisons were made between the year April 2007 to March 2008 and the year July 2007 to June 2008, which includes the provisional results for the quarter April to June 2008.
Data collected from local authorities showed household recycling rates rose from an average rate of 34.5 per cent between April 2007 and March 2008 to 35.5 per cent between July 2007 and June 2008.
Total municipal waste decreased by more than 0.2 million tonnes in the year ending June 2008, from 28.5 million tonnes to 28.3 million tonnes. And a decrease in total household waste was also observed, from 25.3 to 25.2 million tonnes. Less waste was sent to landfill dropping from 15.5 to 15.1 million tonnes.
The average residual household waste reduced from 329kg per head between April 2007 and March 2008 to 321 kg per head between July 2007 and June 2008.
Commenting on the data, Environment Minister Jane Kennedy said: This is a really encouraging sign that we are making more progress on recycling and reducing the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill. With the recent market difficulties for the recycling industry I know that some people have been wondering if recycling is still worth it it absolutely is, and I hope that these latest figures will encourage everyone to continue with their efforts.
Local Government Association Environment Board chairman Paul Bettison said: "While these figures are a move in the right direction, there is an inescapable need to do more. Britain is still the dustbin of Europe, throwing more waste into landfill than any other country in the EU. It is pleasing to see our recycling rates exceed 35 per cent for the first time, but the fact remains other countries on the continent are still recycling up to twice as much.
Councils and council tax payers are still facing fines of up to £3 billion if we do not dramatically reduce the amount of waste thrown into landfill, and so it is vital we look at alternatives to the status quo."