Borough recycling falling says DEFRA
MORE than 40% of Halton’s households recycled last year as the region’s rate fell.
Figures from the Department For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (DEFRA) showed that the borough was 22nd out of 43 areas in the North West in 2015-16.
The Runcorn and Widnes household recycling rate of 41.4% placed the borough ahead of neighbouring areas such as St Helens and Liverpool, which had figures of 39% and 29.2% respectively. However, the borough had the lowest rate out of the four Cheshire local authority areas.
Cheshire West And Chester, Cheshire East and Warrington came third, fourth, and fifth with respective rates of 57.7%, 55.3% and 52.7%.
Across the North West, utility company Suez has analysed the DEFRA figures and discovered that recycling rates fell by 0.4% to 46.1% in the financial year to the of end March 2016, down from 46.5% recorded in 2014-15.
Every region in England during 2015-16 experienced a decline in annual household recycling rates, other than the South West which stagnated at 47.6%.
The North West’s recycling performance is part of a wider trend across England where the 2015-16 recycling rate fell nationally for the first time in 16 years.
Suez’s chief executive for recycling and recovery in the UK David Palmer-Jones said: “The introduction of more charging by local authorities for green collections – largely garden waste – may be deterring many households from putting their cuttings out for collection and recycling rates are still measured largely by weight of materials collected with green waste tending to be wetter and heavier rather than measuring the quality and re-use value of recyclable materials collected.
“The UK is at a tipping point and without radical change to improve England’s household recycling rates the UK will not meet its EU agreed target of 50% recycling rates by 2020.
“Suez recommends the introduction of a wider producer responsibility regime in England, also known as ‘polluter pays’ which would see packaging makers or manufacturers taxed in a sliding scale according to the amount of recyclable and non-recyclable materials used and that cost added to the cost of the product.
“The tax would help pay for better household collection of recyclables and help address the huge funding challenge that local government faces.
“To drive significant behavioural change in England national policy makers need to apply direction from top down to encourage households to put more of their recyclables into the right recycling containers and not left in black bags meant for non-recyclable refuse, and from bottom up to encourage producers of materials to use more recyclable material.”