How Bad Is Your Council At Recycling? Check Out These Depressing New Figures

By Tom Pritchard on at

I make no secret about how shitty my local council is at recycling. Basically if it's not cardboard or a plastic bottle, they won't take it. They won't even recycle glass, for crying out loud. I've always wondered how it compares to the rest of the country, and now someone actually crunched the numbers to find out.

GreenMatch pulled in all the figures from authorities around the country, looking at how much waste was produced, how much got recycled (including anything reused or composted) and worked out some percentages. It's not exactly a taxing task, but it is time consuming which is why we should all be grateful they did it.

They've got a big table or all the councils with the raw information for you to browse, which you can see here. There are also two interactive maps, one which shows the average recycling rate in different geographical regions:

The second shows off the best and worst councils across the UK, based on their recycling record. Spoiler alert: Westminster council is the worst with 15.5 per cent and the best is the West Riding of Yorkshire with 66.4 per cent. Go Yorkshire.

The average score across the UK is 44.7 per cent, though Wales and Scotland have their numbers dragged down by the English - particularly London which has some seriously shocking numbers. Northern Ireland's numbers don't dip quite as low, but that doesn't save its average being 0.4 per cent lower than England.

You can see how they compare to each other, and the rest of the EU, below:

With a score of 32.1 per cent, I now know that my local council really is as bad as I thought. This is despite claims that there are targets to reach 50 per cent by 2020. You better get cracking, you only have three years to go - and a bunch of councils are already there. Yes, Reading, I'm talking about you. Get your shit together.

That also goes for all the councils with even worse recycling rates. Like Westminster, Sheffield, Birmingham, Portsmouth, and the rest.

Not that 50 per cent recycling is that great either. Councils across the country should be striving to recycle and reuse as much as possible, and while 100 per cent might not be an achievable goal we should all try and make sure everything that can be recycled is recycled.


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