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Figures expose UK’s recycling gap


23rd November, 2007

Rates of recycling in England and Wales differ markedly from region to region, with some city areas faring particularly badly, according to new figures.

While than 80 per cent of local authorities have seen the amount of rubbish they collect from households decrease, some councils are lagging as much as five times behind the best performers.

Statistics published by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that North Kesteven District Council, in the East Midlands, recycled or composted 55.5 per cent of its household waste.

In contrast, Tower Hamlets in east London recycled just 11.8 per cent, the lowest figure in the England and Wales. Liverpool city council fared marginally better with 12.72 per cent and the London Borough of Newham came in at 13.58. The national average for 2006/7 is 31 per cent.

Climate Change and Waste Minister, Joan Ruddock admitted the gap needed addressing. “The best local authorities have achieved close to double the average.  But some authorities are not doing anywhere near enough,” she said. 

“Under-performing councils must do more to help their residents reduce their rubbish and recycle more from their homes,” added Mrs Ruddock.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist November 2007


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