The UK’s 50% recycling target

The UK is tasked with achieving a 50% recycling rate by 2020, as set out in the EU Waste Framework Directive. Is this target achievable? How close are we to meeting this objective? We explore this further in the infographic below:

UK recycling rates infographic

Further analysis of the UK’s recycling efforts

Despite nearing the 2020 recycling target of 50%, the volume of rejected recycling is also on the rise:

  •   Rejected recycling is increasing by an average of 51,350 tonnes per year
  •   Landfill Tax is also on the rise meaning we’ll be paying increasingly more to send contaminated recycling to landfill (the 2016 / 2017 rate being £86.10 per tonne)
  •   The UK could be facing costs of nearly £38 million by the end of the 2017 financial year if the volume of rejected recycling continues to rise as it has in previous years
  •   The pinch of this rising cost will be felt by every Local Authority


The UK needs to improve its recycling efforts

Contaminated Recycling:

There are many different waste and recycling schemes across the UK, with a lack of consistency from one Local Authority to the next; this is causing confusion for citizens:

  •   Many people are unsure of what they can and can’t recycle – this results in non-recyclable or non-targeted materials being included in boxes, sacks and bins (e.g. non-recyclable plastic, nappies etc.)
  •   Targeted recycling materials are often rejected due to food or drink contamination (e.g. pizza boxes or unwashed milk cartons)


Lack of recycling:

As well as recycling being rejected, there is still a general lack of recycling in the UK:

  •   “Up to 60% of your rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled and as much as 50% of your rubbish could be composted.” Source: Sustainability Centre


As well as the issue highlighted above – whereby citizens are confused about what they can/cannot recycle – there are other reasons why recycling isn’t a priority for households; these include:

  •   Citizens being too busy / recycling taking too long
  •   A belief that recycling won’t make much of a difference
  •   Forgetting to put recycling out / not knowing which bins are being collected

If these issues and attitudes aren’t remedied, the UK will struggle to meet EU waste targets by 2020.


Let @HOME help your Local Authority meet recycling targets

The @HOME app, which has been developed with both the Council and the citizen in mind, aims to simplify and streamline the recycling process whilst helping Local Authorities meet their strict waste and recycling targets.

The @HOME app can:

  •   Win co-operation and combat forgetfulness – @HOME reminds residents to put their bins out
  •   Help to educate the community – highlighting what can and can’t be recycled in your Authority
  •   Improve waste collection – residents can let you know if there’s a problem or if their collection is missed
  •   Stay in touch – send messages directly to residents’ phones and save on SMS and postal costs
  •   Target effectively – send messages to all or selected residents, right down to individual properties
  •   Rapid response – let residents know if a schedule is changing


Get in touch today to find out more about the @HOME recycling app and how it can help your Council meet recycling objectives.

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