England’s recycling rate is starting to be closed on by the amount of waste material sent for recovery via energy from waste plants, with a gap of just 6.5% between the two figures.
According to figures for all local authority waste released today by Defra in 2016/17, over the financial year 38.6% of waste was sent for energy recovery while 45.1% was recycled. However, slight differences in terminology mean that in the outlet calculations Defra uses a recycling rate lower than the headline figure, meaning that the gap between the two treatment routes is even smaller.
Five years ago, while the recycling rate was broadly similar to now, just 19.1% of waste was recovered for energy. The change coincides with a reduction in the use of landfill and an increase in RDF exports to the continent from municipal contracts.