UK Sees Sustained Drop in Waste to Landfill

Waste for landfill reduced by 3.1% since last year. How much is truly related to increased recycling and how much to the recession is not known.

The amount of waste going to landfill in the United Kingdom has continued to fall in 2009, according to figures from the government environmental department Defra.

Provisional estimates from the department’s survey of municipal waste in England incorporate the first quarter of the 2009/10 financial year and are based on information supplied by local authorities to WasteDataFlow.

To minimise the effects of seasonal fluctuations, comparisons are made between the year April 2008 to March 2009 and the year July 2008 to June 2009, that is, encompassing the provisional results for the quarter April to June 2009.

Total municipal waste decreased by 0.28 million tonnes in the year to end June 2009, to 27.06 million tonnes. A decrease in total household waste was observed, from 24.3 to 24.1 million tonnes, or 1.1%. Waste going to landfill dropped by 3.1% (13.4 million tonnes).

There was also an increase in the household recycling rate, from the average rate of 37.6% between April 2008 and March 2009 to 38.3% between July 2008 and June 2009. The average residual household waste (which is the amount of household waste which is not recycled) decreased from 295 kg per head between April 2008 and March 2009 to 289 kg per head between July 2008 and June 2009.

Defra explained that the data are provisional as not all returns have completed full validation and returns to WasteDataFlow can be revised by local authorities during the scheme year. “There are also seasonal effects on waste arisings and management which means care needs to be taken when assessing trends,” it explained Final figures will be released in the annual National Statistics release in November 2010.

For April to June 2009, all local authorities submitted data to WasteDataFlow and at the time the data were downloaded for this release, all authorities (358) had completed validation.

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