Recycling in the UK

Local authorities across the United Kingdom operate a range of different systems to collect recyclable materials from householders, which means that kerb-side collection methods and the materials each authority collects can be very different from one area to another.

Recycling performance also varies considerably between local authorities – with householders in the lowest performing areas recycling less than a fifth of all the waste material they produce. At the other end of the scale, households in the best performing local authorities recycle as much as 67 per cent of everything they throw away.

Although most local authority recycling statistics are publically available, they are not always very accessible. The figures for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also published by different organisations at different times, so SUEZ has created the simple interactive map below which shows how each local authority is performing across the UK based on the most up-to-date data available for each region.

Users can click on each individual local authority to see how it performs relative to others. Click and drag the image to navigate around the map and zoom using the plus and minus symbols. You can also search for towns and cities near you to find your local authority using the search function.

For full notes on the data and applicable date ranges, please click on the ‘details’ tab at the top of the map.

Data sources: DEFRA, StatsWales, SEPA, DOENI, ONS

Notes about the data used in this map

The recycling performance data for England is based on information submitted by local authorities showing the percentage of household waste each authority sends for re-use, recycling or composting. The data is audited and published annually by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). This data in this map relates to the 2015/16 financial year as published by Defra on 15 December 2016.

In 2014, Defra moved to reporting annual average recycling statistics on a financial year basis to a calendar year basis. However, to ensure that an accurate year-on-year comparison remains possible, we have kept to financial years in producing this map.

Recycling performance data for local authorities in Scotland is for the 2015 calendar year, as published by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

The recycling data for Welsh local authorities is for the 2015/16 financial year to end March 2016, it was published by StatsWales for the Welsh Government on 6 October 2016.

Recycling performance data for local authorities in Northern Ireland is for the financial year to end March 2016 and was published by the Department of the Environment Northern Ireland (DOENI) on 01 December 2016.

In June 2015, for statistical purposes, Northern Ireland introduced an additional rate called the ‘waste from households’ recycling rate which provides a harmonised UK indicator and enables accurate comparisons between each of the four UK countries and local authorities – for this reason SUEZ has used the new ‘waste from household’ data.

From 01 April 2015, Northern Ireland reorganised the 26 councils covered by previous reports into 11 new councils. Therefore as this year’s annual figures report on only 11 councils for the first time it is not possible to compare the data with previous years.

See also

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