2016 recycling rate rises by 0.6% , but only after DEFRA altered the method used to calculate it


DEFRA has published the recycling statistics for 2016 showing that the annual household rate in England rose by 0.6%, but only after it changed the statistical method.  

The recycling rate in England in 2016 increased from 44.3% to 44.9%, due to DEFRA’s decision to include metals recovered from post incineration (IBA).  


If IBA was excluded from the results, the overall recycling rate for England has only risen by 1.1% over the past four years. 

SUEZ chief executive David PalmerJones said: “A clear national strategy to end stalling recycling rates is still required. To increase household recycling rates, Government needs to integrate waste and recycling planning into a modern industrial strategy which values the things we throw away as raw materials for manufacturing, and as an energy resource.” 

He added that one of the reasons for the decrease in recycling rates is that the targets are weight-based rather than on the value collected.  

But he also said that Britain has an opportunity from Brexit, possibly free from EU laws and solving misplaced recycling targets, in order to lead in resource efficiency by ensuring that producers are responsible for their products lifecycle, post-consumer.  

The chief executive said: “The time is right for manufacturers to take more responsibility for their products as part of a radical reform of environmental policy. We want to see the producers of sustainable packaging and products incentivised by policy, legislation and the tax system, while those manufacturers who continue to consume virgin raw materials when recyclables are available, should be penalised.”