Local authority league table 2012/13

Over the past 15 years, UK local authorities have taken great steps towards managing waste sustainably. But the job is far from done, and it looks like many have now gone backwards. Charles Newman looks into some of the forces at work.

This article was taken from Issue 76

Householders in the UK continue to recycle more and waste less. However, in the case of 2012/13, this was only just the case, and was largely thanks to progress made by the devolved administrations.

For the fifth year running, Resource is continuing to highlight residual waste per capita, as well as recycling rates. It remains our view that residual waste per capita is the best measure of progress towards zero waste, and we note that some administrations are now starting to incorporate this figure as part of their official release.

This year, we have introduced figures for total waste arising per capita, as this also reflects how well we are reducing overall consumption, whether this is through retailer initiatives that lightweight packaging, or education about consumption choices, including local authority waste minimisation campaigns. We have also added figures for the 12-month change in performance, illustrating which councils are making headway and which are going in reverse. While such an approach might not be welcomed in all quarters, we recognise that in many cases extraneous factors need to be understood.