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Which UK councils recycle the most and the least?

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Most councils in the UK have now got the message on the benefits of recycling, and encourage their populations to cut down waste and the amount of refuse sent for landfill.

At least 44% of all UK domestic waste is now recycled, according to recent figures, and increasing amounts of rubbish that was destined for wasteful landfill now heads to incinerators, meaning that refuse that had no other useful life is instead being used to generate electricity.

Which UK councils recycle the most and the least?

Some councils are more enthusiastic toward recycling than others, while some districts having as many as half-a-dozen (or more) separate bins for different classes of domestic waste, while some areas still have nothing more than black bag waste collections.

However, Britain remains slightly above average in Europe with its recycling rates, with 128kg of waste recycled for every person in the country. The figures show that Britain is also doing well in cutting down landfill, with the country now sending half the amount it did ten years previously. We’ve still got a long way to go to better Germany and the Netherlands, both countries having an amazing 1% landfill rate. However, we’re streets ahead of Bulgaria, where virtually all refuse ends up in a hole in the ground.

Within the UK itself, figures show a huge difference between councils when it comes to recycling. According to WasteDataFlow, the top ten councils for recycling their waste in 2012 were:

  1. Surrey Heath Borough Council 39.22%
  2. Vale of White Horse District Council 37.27%
  3. South Oxfordshire District Council 36.95%
  4. Darlington Borough Council 36.94%
  5. Uttlesford District Council 35.47%
  6. Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 34.94%
  7. Rutland County Council 34.76%
  8. City of London 34.38%
  9. North Somerset Council 34.24%
  10. Swindon Borough Council 33.33%

It’s interesting to note that the top ten show a huge variety of locations, from leafy well-to-do Surrey to Blackburn in Lancashire which would otherwise have been thought of a relatively deprived area. The results show an enthusiasm for recycling irrespective of region or political ideology.

The bottom ten council areas in 2012 were:

  1. Ashford Borough Council 13.68%
  2. North Warwickshire Borough Council 13.86%
  3. Southampton City Council 13.91%
  4. Forest of Dean District Council 14.25%
  5. St Helens MBC 14.28%
  6. Council of the Isles of Scilly 14.63%
  7. Middlesbrough Borough Council 14.83%
  8. East Cambridgeshire District Council 15.22%
  9. North East Lincolnshire Council 15.64%
  10. Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council 15.82%

Again, there’s a huge geographical spread, although the low levels for the Isles of Scilly are understandable given their location. But what can be seen is that some council areas clearly need to do more to increase their recycling rates, looking to the example of the top councils in the country, or even to European partners to see how it’s done.

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