How much waste do households in England produce?England is currently responsible for generating roughly 85 percent of household waste in the United Kingdom each year. In 2020, households in England generated some 22.6 million metric tons of waste. This was equivalent to roughly 400 kilograms of household waste per capita. The amount of waste collected per household in England varies widely by region. In the 2021 financial year, households in the North East generated the most waste at 635 kilograms of waste. In contrast, households in the South West generated the least, at 490 kilograms. In 2020, residual waste accounted for 55.7 percent of the composition of waste from households in England, with dry recycling accounting for 26 percent.
Household recycling in England has stalledHousehold recycling rates in England experienced steady growth between the financial years 2000/21 and 2011/12, rising from 11 percent to 43 percent. However, rates have plateaued since then. In the 2020 calendar year, England’s recycling rate from waste from households dropped from 46 percent to 44.4 percent. According to officials at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), this reduction was caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 and its subsequent impacts on the waste management industry. However, while the recycling rate in England fell by 1.6 percent that year, the recycling rate in Wales increased by 0.1 percent to 56.5 percent – the highest in the UK.
Due to the reduction in recycling, England failed to meet its recycling target of 50 percent by 2020. Therefore, it is clear that more needs to be done if England is to reach its 2035 recycling rate target of 65 percent. Recycling targets for packaging have also been set, with 50 percent of plastic packaging needing to be recycled by 2025. One such way in which the country aims to improve recycling is to implement Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) systems before 2025, which is expected to significantly increase the collection rate of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). UK-based recycling will also be promoted, as well as reducing exports of waste to be processed abroad.