Resource Use

Suez interactive map highlights ‘lacklustre’ local recycling rates

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK (SUEZ) has released an interactive map of local authority recycling data, showing recycling rates for the 2019/20 financial year and the change over the previous period.

recycling truckBased on the most recent reported annual statistics, local authorities in England achieved an average recycling rate of 45.5 per cent, whilst Scotland achieved 44.9 per cent and Wales 65.1 per cent.

All national averages represented an increase compared to the previous years, of 0.4 per cent in England, 0.2 per cent in Scotland and 2.3 per cent in Wales respectively.

Urban areas of England and Scotland generally reported lower recycling rates, with Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow and 14 London local authorities currently reporting recycling rates of less than 30 per cent.

In 2018, the UK Government published its Resources and Waste Strategy, which included setting a target of dry recyclables to be collected consistently by all councils by 2023, in a bid to improve local recycling rates.

The latest government consultation ahead of the Consistent Collections 2023 deadlines is scheduled for later this year, following comments from the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) that not enough funding has been made available to local authorities to assist with separate food waste collections.

Last year, as part of its ‘Circular Economy Package’, the UK Government set a national average recycling rate of 65 per cent by 2035.

In publishing this interactive map, SUEZ has said it hopes the tool will be used as a baseline from which to measure success as local authorities work towards such targets.

John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, commented: “With the government consultations on extended producer responsibility and consistent collections taking place this spring, we have a significant opportunity to work across the value chain and make holistic changes that will maximise the efficiency of existing kerbside collection systems and drive growth in recycling rates across the country.

“We are releasing this digital tool today to set a clear baseline and to establish a metric to measure our success against as we start to implement these changes over the coming years.

“The lacklustre recycling growth reflected on the map just reiterates the importance of the current government consultations and how vital it is that we get these policies right so that we can continue moving forward together.”

Stuart Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK added: “In order to get our recycling rates where they need to be by 2035, we need a clear understanding of where they are now.

“This digital tool helps us improve our understanding by visualising patterns and areas that are underperforming so that we can pinpoint obstacles, like demographic differences or geographic challenges, and make informed changes to address them.

“By highlighting the local authorities that are leading the country in recycling, the map also creates a valuable opportunity to learn from their success.”