Vital statistics: League table analysis

The years of healthy improvement in recycling rates in all quarters of the UK appear to be over. Analysis of local authorities’ waste management performance in 2014/15 suggests a mixed picture. Charles Newman does the rounds 

This article was taken from Issue 83

After just over a decade of unremitting success, in which recycling has become an accepted norm, the pulse of change is not beating as regularly. Most industry leaders now warn that, as things currently stand, the UK will miss its EU 2020 targets. Looking at the most recent data for 2014/15 (in Scotland’s case 2014), this diagnosis seems reasonable. Overall, there has been a mild improvement in performance since last year, but not enough to suggest the recycling industry is in the rude health of previous years.

What’s more, the national press is now waking up to this flatlining, and, unsurprisingly, the stories are unduly negative and potentially counterproductive. In the main, the public has adopted the changes we have asked of them and developed expectations about these services. Consequently, the waste-to-resources industry needs to collectively address this negative coverage; otherwise, it will become even harder to get the public on board with future improvements.