WT Skip Hire

UK vs the World How Does Our Recycling Compare

Posted on: March 9, 2018

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With a population of over 66 million people and 14 million households here in the UK, creating high levels of waste is an inevitable problem and one that has not received the correct attention. However, in recent months the focus on our recycling has increased. There has been media scrutiny of our own waste management systems since China stopped taking our waste plastic. How does the UK compare to other nations when it comes to recycling?

Falling Recycling Rates

Despite the pressure on the government when it comes to recycling, half of local authorities are recycling a lower proportion of household waste than they were in 2011. Experts have warned that if this continues, the UK is likely to miss its target of recycling 50% of household waste by 2020. This is not surprising, seeing as since 2011-12 the overall recycling rate in England has risen by just 0.7%, with most regions seeing a fall.

In England in 2016-17, we produced 23.6 million tonnes of household waste, with 10.3 million tonnes recycled. The difference between these figures highlights the problem we have when it comes to recycling and, with China no longer accepting plastic from us, these figures might be impacted.

UK vs the World 

Seeing that we are looking to target a recycling rate of 50% by 2020, which countries around the globe are near to or exceed that figure?

  • Germany: 47% recycling rate – With a population of over 82 million and a recycling rate of 47%, Germany is going about things the right way. They produce more waste than us (30 million tonnes) and recycle more of it.
  • Austria: 55% recycling rate – Recycling over half of the waste they produce is an impressive feat for this smaller population (under 10 million). The infrastructure behind their waste management success has been in place since the 1990s and they have managed to get huge results from it. Their successful system is one we should look to take inspiration from if we want to see changes to our recycling rate.
  • Slovenia: 55% recycling rate – Another European country with a highly impressive recycling rate is Slovenia. Like Austria, they have an extremely admirable recycling rate. In the last 20 years they have reduced the waste going to landfills, increased waste collections and focused on reducing the quantity of the waste, all of which are goals we should be aiming for in Great Britain.

Our Recycling Policy

Here at WT Skip Hire, we are extremely passionate about recycling the waste that we collect in our skips, recycling 90% of it. We sort the waste we collect into various different containers, which allow us to deal with the vast quantities our recycling centre houses. We can provide our customers with waste reports which detail exactly what was found in the skip and how much of it was recycled.

Interested in seeing the rest of the world’s recycling rates amongst other waste related stats? Take a look at Waste Atlas. That’s the website where we sourced the figures quoted in this article.

If you also have waste that needs to be disposed of and want to do it responsibly, we can help. Call us on 01493 668118 or email us on info@wtskiphire.co.uk.