April 2005

England’s municipal waste statistics published

London— DEFRA published provisional estimates from the Department’s latest Municipal Waste Management Survey. The results are based on information supplied by local authorities in England for the financial year 2003/2004. The figures show a further increase in recycling, a reduction in total waste and in the amounts sent to landfill.

Municipal waste and management
The total amount of municipal waste has fallen slightly to an estimated 29.1 million tons in England in 2003/04 compared to 29.4 million tons in 2002/03, a decrease of 1.0 per cent.

In total, 27.9 per cent (8.1 million tons) of municipal waste had some sort of value (recycling, composting, energy from waste) recovered from it in 2003/04, a rise from 24.7 per cent (7.3 million tons) in 2002/03.

The proportion of municipal waste being recycled or composted increased from 15.6 per cent in 2002/03 to 19.0 per cent in 2003/04. The proportion of waste incinerated with energy recovery has remained roughly constant at just under 9 per cent.

The proportion of municipal waste being disposed of in landfill has continued to decrease from 75 per cent in 2002/03 to 72 per cent in 2003/04.

The actual tonnage of municipal waste disposed of in landfill has also decreased again from 22.1 million tons in 2002/03 to 20.9 million tons in 2003/04.

Household waste and recycling
In 2003/04, household sources accounted for around 87 per cent of municipal waste, 25.4 million tons. This compares to 25.8 million tons in 2002/03, a decrease of 1.5 per cent.

About 510 kg of household waste per person per year was collected in 2003/04 compared to 520 kg in 2002/03, a decrease of 2 percent.

The proportion of household waste recycled (including composting) has continued to increase, rising from 14.5 per cent in 2002/03 to 17.7 per cent in 2003/04. This increase of 3.2 percentage points in the recycling rate is the greater than the growth rate of 1 or 2 percentage points achieved in previous years.

In absolute terms the amount of household waste collected for recycling has increased by 20.5 per cent, from 3.7 million tons in 2002/03 to 4.5 million tons in 2003/04.

The amount of household waste collected for recycling at civic amenity and bring sites has increased by 5 percent from 2.5 million tons in 2002/03 to 2.6 million tons in 2003/04.

The amount of recycled household material collected through ‘curbside’ schemes rose by 50 per cent from 1.3 million tons in 2002/03 to 1.9 million tons in 2003/04.

The greater increase in curbside recycling means it accounted for 42 per cent of the total household recycling in 2003/04 compared to 34 per cent in 2002/03. Almost all authorities collect some waste for recycling through curbside collection recycling schemes. The remaining 58 per cent of material for recycling was collected through civic amenity and ‘bring’ sites, such as bottle and paper banks.


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