England Meets And Beats Its Recycling & Composting Target - DEFRA
Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett today confirmed that England has successfully met and exceeded its target to recycle and compost 17 per cent of household waste during 2003/4.
Today's Municipal Waste Management Statistics show that householders in England are now recycling and composting nearly 18% (17.7%) of their household waste, up 3.2% from 14.5% in 2002/03 and from 7.5% in 1996/97, and beating the national target by almost 1%.
Talking to the Trade Association Forum, Mrs Beckett confirmed that it is the first time that such a target has ever been met.
"England is making excellent progress on recycling, but we must not be complacent - we must now work towards our more ambitious national target of recycling and composting a quarter of household waste by 2005/06.
"We are making it easier for people to recycle, for example by working with supermarkets on front-of-store recycling - and we are committed to extend kerbside collection of at least two types of recyclable materials to all households in England by 2010. We are also funding pilots into incentive schemes for household recycling."
Other key trends highlighted by today's report include:
For the first time, a 1.0% reduction in the total amount of municipal waste (from 29.4 million tonnes in 2002/03 to 29.1 million tonnes in 2003/04).
Another first in recent years, a 2% reduction in the amount of household waste collected per person per year (down from 520kg in 2002/03 to 510kg in 2003/04).
For the second year in a row a further reduction in the amount and proportion of waste being sent to landfill has been recorded (a reduction from 22.1 million tonnes in 2002/03 and 20.9 million tonnes in 2003/04).
Kerbside collection schemes are growing in popularity, waste collected for recycling in this way increased by 50% in 2003/04. Almost all authorities now collect some waste for recycling through kerbside schemes.
'Bring' sites, such as bottle banks, and civic amenity sites continue to be a popular way to recycle waste - 58% of all waste that was recycled was collected via these sites.
As well as presenting the national picture, today's figures show that there are significant variations in household recycling rates between different regions. The highest recycling regions were the East (23.2%) and the South East (22.7%). Despite recording the lowest rate at 11.9%, recycling of household waste in the North East is growing faster than anywhere else in England with Householders in the region recycling 80% more waste during 2003/04 than they did in 2002/03.
Defra and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) will be continuing to work with local authorities and retailers to pilot and roll out new ways - from new technology at recycling 'bring' banks to financial incentives such as discount vouchers - to get people recycling more.
In addition, national campaigns and local action-focused activity will continue throughout the year.
The 'Recycle Now' campaign is already encouraging and motivating consumers to recycle more stuff more often. The campaign, which includes a high profile TV and national press advertising campaign, was launched in September and will continue through to March 2006.
This summer, the BIG recycle campaign will begin on 27 June marking a week of fun and informative activities at a national, regional and local level. Last year, almost 250 authorities across the country took part by running their own campaigns to highlight the 'what', 'where' and 'how' to recycle locally.
Mrs Beckett concluded: "There is a growing list of materials you can recycle either through kerbside collection schemes or recycling collection points from junk mail to plastic milk containers to drink cans.
"However, recycling isn't just confined to what you can drop off in your recycling bins: many community based organisations are raising vital funds by recycling more unusual goods like old mobile phones, books, computers and spectacles. So much of the waste we generate could be reused, recycled and transformed from a problem into an asset"
For more information on recycling during 2003/04 please see http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/statisitics/wastats/index.htm
Notes for editors
The Municipal Waste Management Survey is published annually. It features waste and recycling statistics broken down by region and local authority as well as commenting on trends. The Survey published today shows first figures for 2003-2004. A more detailed report on the survey is planned for May 2005.
All local authorities with waste management responsibilities have been set individual Statutory Performance Standards for recycling and composting in 2005/06.
In recognition of differing local circumstances, the level of each authority's target was based on the proportion of household waste they recycled and composted in 1998/99. In broad terms, we have required authorities to double their recycling and composting rate by 2003/04, and triple it by 2005/06.
When combined, the local targets add up to the national target of 17% recycling and composting by 2003/04, and 25% by 2005/06.
The Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 provides that where English waste collection authorities have a general duty to collect waste they shall ensure, except in some circumstances, that by 31 December 2010 they collect at least two types of recyclable waste together or individually separated from the rest of the household waste. This is subject to two exemptions: where the cost of doing so was unreasonably high or where comparable alternative arrangements are available. The Secretary of State may also make a direction that the duty shall not apply to a waste collection authority until a later date, which must be before 31 December 2015. The exceptions are narrowly drawn and it is intended that they should be applied restrictively.
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