March 2005

England’s recycling and composting rate hit its highest level ever

London— England is recycling more household waste than ever before, Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, confirmed in January.

In a keynote speech to the Associated Parliamentary Waste Group, Beckett confirmed that England is poised to meet its national recycling and composting target of 17 per cent in 2003-04.

Beckett’s comments came as Defra released the audited Best Value Performance Indicators showing local authority recycling and composting rates during 2003-04.

As well as recycling more waste, these figures show that the recycling and composting rate increased by three percentage points - the highest rate of increase ever recorded in England.

Figures show that people in Lichfield District Council in Staffordshire recycle more waste than anyone else in England, recycling or composting over 46 per cent of their waste.

Residents in Fylde Borough Council made the biggest leap. Nearly 30 per cent of household waste was recycled or composted, 19 per cent more than in 2002-03, mainly as a result of increased composting.

Beckett said, “This is positive news. England looks certain to meet its national recycling and composting target, the first time such a target has ever been met. “While there is still a lot of work to do to raise levels of recycling even higher, this is a strong indication that the nation is adjusting to more sustainable waste practices.

However, Beckett warned that some poor performing councils will face action, as single figure recycling rates are “no longer acceptable”.

“Environment Minister Elliot Morley will be personally engaging with each of the very poorest performers to ensure they receive the right support or, if they continue to demonstrate no commitment to improvement, to take stronger action.”

More detailed information on current household waste management practices, and confirmation of the national recycling and composting rate for 2003-04, will be available in the Municipal Waste Management Survey to be published later this year.


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