Responding to the publication by Defra recently of the latest data on waste and recycling in England, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has welcomed the news that not only has household waste recycling in England reached 43% but more waste was recycled, composted or reused than landfilled for the first time since records began.
The final annual results for 2011/12 from Defra show that 43% of household waste was recycled, the highest rate yet recorded, and although the rate of increase has been levelling off, household waste generation has also been falling since 2007/8.
"We have now reached an important tipping point in England, with more waste recycled or composted than landfilled," says CIWM deputy chief executive Chris Murphy. "Although this may be due in part to an increase in incineration, it is still encouraging news and demonstrates that we are continuing to make positive progress in moving waste up the hierarchy."
While some of the data is hard to interpret due to the use of different definitions and terminology, CIWM also welcomes the useful statistics on the carbon impacts of material recycling which complement traditional tonnage based data but don’t replace it.
"The plateauing of the recycling rate could be due to the tougher behaviour change challenge to reach higher rates, as well as tough efficiency and budget considerations that local authorities are currently facing," adds Mr Murphy. "However, CIWM will continue to encourage and support authorities to improve recycling rates and divert more waste from landfill in the future."