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Bottom 10 councils for recycling named

There is a huge disparity between the amounts of refuse that English councils are managing to recycle, with the best-performing (Surrey Heath Borough Council) achieving a rate three times higher than the bottom-rated council, Ashford in Kent.

The statistics, which cover 2012, come from the Government’s WasteDataFlow service and show that three councils – Ashford, North Warwickshire and Southampton – were achieving recycling rates below 14% (see list below).

Commercial manager at recycling company, Mark Hall, said: “There are many factors at play when we look at these low rates, but excuses begin to wear thin when targets are missed year after year. The public demand and deserve more responsible councils, yet in most cases they're consistently failing to deliver.”

“In some cases we're convinced that councils have slashed back their waste collection budgets, and recycling rates have plummeted as a result. Some councils have simply taken their eye off the ball in recent years, and have just let things slide.”

Ashford Borough Council has recently launched an effort to improve its poor performance via a new recycling service, and has an ambition to become one of the top-performing areas within two years.

The bottom ten council areas in England in 2012 according to WasteDataFlow were (by percentage of refuse recycled):

1. Ashford Borough Council 13.68%

2. North Warwickshire Borough Council 13.86%

3. Southampton City Council 13.91%

4. Forest of Dean District Council 14.25%

5. St Helens MBC 14.28%

6. Council of the Isles of Scilly 14.63%

7. Middlesbrough Borough Council 14.83%

8. East Cambridgeshire District Council 15.22%

9. North East Lincolnshire Council 15.64%

10. Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council 15.82%

The top ten recycling councils in England last year were:

1. Surrey Heath Borough Council 39.22%

2. Vale of White Horse District Council 37.27%

3. South Oxfordshire District Council 36.95%

4. Darlington Borough Council 36.94%

5. Uttlesford District Council 35.47%

6. Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council 34.94%

7. Rutland County Council 34.76%

8. City of London 34.38%

9. North Somerset Council 34.24%

10. Swindon Borough Council 33.33% 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Ashley   16/09/2013 at 17:32

These figures are not entirely accurate as districts in Oxford excedd 50% recycling rates. Do these figures include green waste, Weee, Bring sites and kerbside glass? There are a number of higher performing authorities not even listed above with recycling rates exceeding 40%.

PSE   17/09/2013 at 12:34

Hi Ashley, The figures relate to recycling alone, not the wider stats on recycling/re-use/composting etc, which are much higher. The top-performing councils in those stats are in the 60-70% bracket, rather than 30-40%.

Marsha   03/10/2013 at 14:01

Hi. Giving percentages like this is misleading. You say they are based on 'refuse recycled.' They don't appear to be. If you ignore green waste, you shouldn’t be including this tonnage as ‘refuse’ which is what has happened by lifting percentages straight out of waste data flow. The percentages given in waste data flow are based on the total waste arisings and will alter if you are only looking at dry recycling v. refuse giving a different result.....

B.Chapman   05/03/2014 at 11:18

I would nominate South Hams Council as one of worst for recycling, not only do they use plastic bags which have to be replaced but they don't collect glass bottles and jars,drink cartons which are recyclable, and heaven forbid if you have large box. No wonder there is rubbish littering towns.

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