Environmental Facts and Figures For The UK
Next week is RWM, the UK’s largest waste and recycling exhibition, and we thought that it would be interesting to look at some of the present industry facts and figures.
Fact 1 – How Much Waste Do We Generate?
Even though we are in 2017, the latest waste statistics in the UK relate back to data from 2015. The DEFRA report stated that households generated 26.7 million tonnes of waste in 2015, a fall of 1.1% on 2010. This equates to 407 kg per person in 2015 compared with 421 kg per person in 2010.
There was also a fall in the generation of Industrial and Commercial Waste between 2010 and 2015. In 2015, 13.9 million tonnes of Industrial Waste was produced compared with 12.6 million tonnes in 2010. The fall in Commercial Waste was greater, with 15.1 million tonnes in 2015, down from 20 million tonnes in 2010.
Fact 2 – Recycling Rates
The household waste recycling target agreed by the UK Government and the European union is 50% by 2020. So how are the individual UK nations performing so far?
- England – 44.3% in 2015, down from 44.9% in 2014. These are the latest figures reported by DEFRA in December 2016;
- Northern Ireland – In December 2016, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs reported that the recycling rate for 2015/16 was 42.2%, an increase of 0.2% on the previous 12 months;
- Scotland – 44.3% in 2015, falling from 44.8% in 2014, as reported by Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in September 2016;
- Wales – In August 2017, the Welsh Government reported a recycling rate of 64% for the 12 months up to March 2017, a rise of 4% on the previous 12 months;
Fact 3 – Metal Packaging Recycling
The last figures from 2014 show that the total amount of metal packaging waste produced was 736,000 tonnes. Of this, 428,000 tonnes (58.2%) was recovered and recycled, often using Magnetic Separation technology in the form of Overband Magnets and Eddy Current Separators. In March 2017, the UK Government set a new target of 69% recycling rate for metal packaging by 2020.
The facts and figures indicate that changes are needed in the waste and recycling strategy to meet the revised targets. At RWM it will be interesting to see and meet the companies who are involved in the recycling process, either undertaking the processing of waste or developing equipment to improve recycling techniques.
Other relevant environmental articles:
- Plastics and the environment;
- The UK recycling landscape post election;
- Recyclable product design is vital to achieve future recycling targets;
- Can UK Metal Packaging Recycling Increase by 10% by 2020?