UK household waste recycling rate was slightly falling in 2015

Co-mingled waste (Foto: Axion Consulting)

London, UK — The UK recycling rate for ‘waste from households’ was 44.3 per cent in 2015, falling from 44.9 per cent in 2014. This is the first time the rate has fallen since it began in 2010, though the 2015 figure still represents the second highest annual value on record. There is an EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50 per cent of household waste by 2020.

The UK generated 202.8 million tonnes of total waste in 2014. Over half of this (59.4 per cent) was generated by construction, demolition and excavation, with households responsible for a further 13.7 per cent. UK generation of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste was 27.7 million tonnes. This has fallen from 32.8 million tonnes in 2012.

The recycling rate increased in all UK countries and in every year from 2010 to 2014. The UK decrease seen between 2014 and 2015 is driven by falls in England (44.8 per cent to 43.9 per cent) and Northern Ireland (42.5 per cent to 42.0 per cent). These counteracted the recycling rates in Wales and Scotland, which continued to rise. Wales had the highest recycling rate of the UK countries in all years, achieving 55.8 per cent in 2015.

In 2014, the UK generated 55.0 million tonnes of non-hazardous C&D waste, of which 49.4 million tonnes was recovered. This represents a recovery rate of 89.9 per cent, which is above the target of 70 per cent which the UK must meet in 2020.

Of the 209.0 million tonnes of all waste that entered final treatment in the UK in 2014, 44.5% was recovered (including recycling and energy recovery). The proportion that went to landfill was 23.1 per cent.The recovery rate from non-hazardous construction and demolition waste in the UK in 2014 was 89.9 per cent. There is an EU target for the UK to recover at least 70 per cent of this type of waste by 2020.

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Source: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra)