England Lags Behind in 18th Place in Recycling League Table

England is one of the worst recyclers of the developed nations, according to an international league table. They lie in 18th in the table, which is a comparison of the recycling rate in different countries, and how different countries recycle. Wales fared much better; it recycles more than half of its household waste.

Why is England’s recycling rate so poor?

Some explanations for England’s poor performance include unpopular compulsory recycling schemes imposed by local authorities, confusing recycling systems, and the move to fortnightly bin collections.

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What does the report say?

A report on the recycling performance of different countries was produced by the Eunomia consultancy, an organisation that has previously carried out a lot of research on behalf of Defra. The report put England down in 18th place out of 24 developed countries.

According to the report, the best recyclers were Germany, Wales, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. This is thought to be down to compulsory household recycling schemes and financial incentives to recycle, like green taxes.

The report adds to England’s woes, when concerns are increasing about the effect of discarded plastic on the environment, and China’s possible ban on importing plastic waste from England.

Signs of encouragement but more must be done

Under EU rules, the UK must recycle 50% of its household waste by 2020.

Defra estimates that the 2016 recycling rate for England was around 44.9%. They say that there are encouraging signs like less waste being sent to landfill and increased separate food waste collection, but they admit that more needs to be done to reduce avoidable waste and increase recycling.

Local authorities in England have been criticised for the way that many of them handle recycling, as they make it too complicated for householders, they impose heavy-handed fines on people, and they make drastic changes to collection services with little warning, so this inevitably affects the overall recycling rate.

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