England’s recycling rates have dropped

England’s household recycling rates have dropped for the first time ever, prompting calls for drastic change, and no doubt ending the UK’s chances of meeting the EU recycling target of 50 per cent by 2020.

The amount of waste being recycled by English households had been heading in the right direction, steadily increasing for a decade, however it had flatlined for three years more recently. Now newly released figures have shown that the amount of waste recycled between 2014 and 2015 in England had decreased, from 44.8% to 43.9% respectively. This is the first drop since the country began tracking recycling figures, and means England has fallen back to pre-2012 recycling rates.

Discussion of the recycling rate drop has so far brought several potential reasons to light, including confusion over what can and cannot be placed in recycling bins, government and local authority budget cuts, and lack of recycling promotion. However, the figures show that some local authority areas are performing much better than others – for example, Newham in London had a 15 per cent recycling rate in 2015, compared to South Oxfordshire which recycled 67 per cent.

It is important to remember that England is still recycling four times as much as it was back in 2000, but this recent drop in the rate shows there is much room for improvement – especially in certain local authority areas.