50% recycling target won’t be met without changes warn Suez


Statistics have shown that England’s recycling rate has only risen by 0.2% to 44.7% up to March 2015.

This would mean that if the same rise were to occur in the next five years, England would reach only 45.7% recycling against an EU target for the UK of 50% in 2020.


Analysis of the data undertaken by Suez showed that London’s recycling rate fell for the second year in succession, down to 33.1% from 33.9% in March 2014.

But the East Midlands also saw a fall, down 1.2% to 45.2%.

With England dominating the overall UK statistics, Suez has warned that changes will need to be made in the nation to ensure that it meets the 50% target.

Suez recycling and recovery UK chief executive David Palmer-Jones (pictured) said: “Over the past financial year to end March 2015, England improved its recycling rate by 0.2% year on year to 44.7% but this is the second year which has seen only low decimal point improvements for the country which makes the task of strategic drive and vision to reach the 50% EU target by 2020 ever more urgent.

“For the UK to achieve its agreed EU target of 50% recycling rates for household waste, England has to improve its performance and Suez believes this is still possible provided some key changes are taken in the way waste is collected at the doorstep.

“Suez recommends the introduction of mandatory separate food waste collections once a week and the collection of residual ‘black bag’ waste fortnightly which, taken together, could add 6% to local authority recycling rates. SUEZ also recommends pay-as-you-throw schemes, where households would be charged for the weight of the black bag waste collected.

“Greater focus is needed within large urban areas, such as Greater London and parts of the Midlands which have at best remained static or at worst showed significant declines in recycling over the past two years and these regions and given the weighting of population, determine the ability of the UK overall to meet its 2020 50% target. 

“Wales has shown the rest of the UK that reaching, and now comfortably surpassing, the key 50% EU target is eminently achievable once clear coherent strategy is put in place from the top down. Wales household recycling rates hit 56.2% in 2014/15, the first time a nation in the UK has gone above 55%, and represent a consistent improvement year-on-year. 

“The performance of Wales and other European countries such as Germany and Belgium prove that the EU’s targets are within reach. The big question is whether today’s Defra figures will finally be the catalyst needed to drive the country’s policy-makers to implement the big changes required to hit our 2020 deadline just as new targets are being drawn up this week by the European Commission for 2030.”