A DEFRA report published in August has shown that household waste collection across the UK is on the rise. This is positive news for the recycling industry, and for the environment as a whole. However, there are a few councils who still need to improve. Last month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published the statistics on local authority waste management in England for the October –December 2012 Quarter.

The report summary is available to view online, but the findings make for some interest reading.

DEFRA found that between October and December 2012, 40.9% of household waste was recycled. Across the whole of 2012, on average 43.6% of household waste was recycled.

A staggering 5.3 million tonnes of household waste was collected between October and December alone. Of that amount, 2.0 million tonnes was sent to landfill, a figure which has dropped by 7% since the previous year, and 1.5 million tonnes was incinerated, a figure which had risen by 12%.

The collection figures are extremely pleasing. We’re particularly happy to see that less waste is being sent to landfill sites. One of our policies is never to send the electrical waste we collect to landfill sites, so it’s nice to see local authorities becoming less reliant on this method.

Several factors affect the amount of household waste collected, including individual household behaviours, the collection services on offer from the councils, the increasing cost of Landfill Tax and some economic factors. The report also found that in the summer months, the amount of recycled waste seemed to increased, particularly the amount of garden waste being created.

Finally, the report discovered that over 90% of all waste managed by local authorities comes from households, with remaining 10% coming from business and construction.

Some councils however, have not performed as well as others. Ashford Borough Council in Kent managed to achieve a recycling rate of just 13.68% in 2012, according to one commentator. They were also joined by North Warwickshire Borough Council (13.86%) and Southampton City Council (13.91%).

The best performing councils included Vale of White Horse District Council (37.27%), South Oxfordshire District Council (36.95%) and Darlington Borough Council (36.94%)

From these stats it looks like Ashford’s local authority have a long way to go, but thankfully, the council have launched an improved recycling service which they claim will improve collection rates. They plan to bring Ashford’s recycling performance from 14% to 37% by 2014.

The council is planning to spend £86m on the new waste collection service, and have employed top contractor Biffa Municipal to run the service for them.

Hopefully, the council will be able to sort out their issues and work towards DEFRA’s ultimate goal of having 50% of all household waste in the UK recycled by the year 2020.