Recycling rate of LA collected household waste in England 2000-2019

Over the last two decades, the household waste recycling rate in England has increased significantly from just 11.2 percent to almost 50 percent. However, England still falls short of the EU target of recycling a minimum of 50 percent of its household waste by 2020. As of 2018, Wales was the only nation in the UK to reach this target, and in 2017 recorded a recycling rate of 64 percent.

Local authority barriers

One issue with the amount of recycling that can be done is that not all local authorities collect the same materials. In 2017, just 18 percent of local authorities in England collected plastic film, nearly half as many as in Wales.

Plastic waste exports

  For many years, the UK relied on exporting plastic waste to China, with 24 percent of its plastic packaging waste exported there in 2017. However, in the same year China announced it would introduce a ban on millions of tons of recycling waste imports from around the world. This poses a challenge to UK authorities, as in 2017, 163 thousand metric tons of plastic packaging was exported to China.

Recycling rate of household waste collected by local authorities in England from 2000/01 to 2018/19

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Release date

November 2019


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

2000/01 to 2018/19*

Age group

Supplementary notes

* Financial year ending March 31.

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Statistics on "Household waste in England"

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