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Recycling Targets: Are We Meeting Ours?

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Ahead of the release of the official statistics on recycling in November, councils around the country have been analysing the league table released by, which shows how well placed each area is according to provisional estimates of its recycling rate.

Some parts of the UK have done very well. Swansea, for example, has managed to reach its high target of recycling 56% of its waste. This success was attributed to a new fortnightly limit of three bags of rubbish that was introduced in April, and to the door-to-door visits offering residents advice on recycling and reducing waste. The target will be raised to 58% next year.

However, other parts of the UK have struggled, and some have missed their targets. Scotland has been striving for an overall rate of 50% since 2013, but it has not managed to reach it this year. The average for all 32 Scottish councils was 42%, meaning that there is still plenty of work to do in order to boost recycling. Nine of the councils had managed to meet the target, with some exceeding it by substantial amounts. Clackmannanshire actually achieved a 60% recycling rate. However, there were some very low rates in other parts of Scotland that drew the average down. Shetland only managed to recycle 12% of its waste, while Dumfries and Galloway recycled 24%.

Closer to home, South Oxfordshire managed to claim the top spot in the league table, with a recycling rate of 65.71%. A lot of work has gone in to achieving this high rate. Mixed recyclable waste is collected every fortnight, relieving residents of the need to sort their own recycling, and food waste is collected separately once a week, keeping it out of landfill. Rochford, which took second place this year after several years at the top, managed to recycle 65.49% of its waste, through a three-bin system collecting food waste weekly while taking other recyclables and waste every two weeks. New incentives are expected to be introduced next year that could boost Rochford back into the top spot, and the goal for 2016 is to be recycling 70% of waste. The overall goal for the UK is now to reach 50% by 2020.

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