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England bottom of UK carbon table

England has fallen behind Northern Ireland for the first time in the relative amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) saved through recycling.

The Recycling Carbon Index report by environmental consultancy Eunomia assesses the success of local authority recycling services by measuring how much material is recycled and then quantifying the CO2 saved.

It is an alternative to the official weight-based measure for recycling in the UK and the EU.

Eunomia found that the home nations, excluding Scotland, saved more than 20,000 tonnes more CO2 in 2014-15 than the previous year.

Wales saved an average of 84kg CO2 per person in 2014-15, follow by 68kg in Northern Ireland and 67kg in England.

England and Wales both made minimal improvements, less than 1%, on the previous year while Northern Ireland increased by 4.5% from 65kg.

This is despite the country achieving only a modest recycling rate increase of 0.8% to 41.4%.

It remains behind England in this measure, which made a minimal recycling rate increase of 0.2% to 44.7%.

Wales remains well ahead, recording a 1.9% recycling rate increase to 56.2%.

Eunomia director Joe Papineschi said: “Progressive waste management policies, devolved governments and new collection systems are having a positive impact on the CO2 performance of recycling systems.

“Amid some mixed results, there are some really outstanding stories. For example, councils collected 8% more food waste last year than in 2013-14, despite only 37% offering separate food collections.”

The online tool compares councils’ carbon savings with each other and year-to-year.

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