England’s recycling statistics flatline

11 December 2017

Out of the 24 developed nations on an annual global league of household recycling, England is down at 18th, behind nearly every other country in Europe. Meanwhile, Wales has shot to number two in the world behind Germany thanks to a plan introduced by the council to achieve zero waste by 2050 and is predicted to be the world leader for recycling within the next year.

Prior to 2010, Wales and England performed very similarly, but since then Wales’ recycling efforts has gone from strength to strength whilst England’s has flatlined, which has resulted in England dropping down the table as other countries progress.

What is England doing wrong?

All countries in the top 10 of the table have recycling rates of over 50% (which only includes the items disposed of by people at home) whilst England sits at just 42.8%. A main feature that the top countries share are policies focussed on cutting waste, which England mostly fails to implement. Examples of these policies are:

•    Mandatory separate collection of key dry recyclables
•    Mandatory separate collection of bio waste
•    Statutory targets for meeting recycling goals
•    Pay-as-you-throw charges
•    Producer responsibility schemes
•    Landfill tax
•    Deposit refund system

Whilst there has been some talk of implementing a deposit refund system for plastic bottles, presently England only implements taxes on landfill and a separate collection of dry recyclables. This significantly pales in comparison to other first world nations and experts are concerned that the Government has shown little to no interest overall in actively improving recycling rates and the cuts made to local councils means that they can’t afford to do anything cohesive either.

What can you do?

No matter how negligible it may seem, your actions at home affect the environment in ways you may not immediately think of. By recycling plastics, glass, paper and other materials correctly at home in your wheelie bins, you are reducing the amount of waste filling up landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of our land and ocean.


We are an experienced team of recycling specialists based in Dorset and Oxfordshire, with expertise in all areas of recycling and waste disposal ranging from cardboard recycling and End of Life Vehicle Collection, to trade waste disposal and metal recycling. For more information about our recycling services, or for further advice on how you can make a difference at home, contact our team on 01202 675564 today.

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