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Eunomia: English Local Authority Recycling Limited to 60%

from Eunomia:

The Fifth Issue of Eunomia’s Residual Waste Infrastructure Review, published today, shows that residual waste treatment facilities already in the pipeline could limit the rate of recycling in 2020 for local authority collected (LAC) wastes in England to no more than 60%.

This limit will be in place for as long as the infrastructure remains operational and well beyond 2020 unless contracts can be renegotiated. If the country is successful in its efforts to reduce waste arisings or if more treatment capacity is commissioned, this will further limit recycling rates. Meanwhile, Scottish and Welsh authorities have invested in less infrastructure and will be able to achieve much higher recycling rates.

This is on the conservative assumption that only the 2 million tonnes per annum (tpa) of residual waste treatment capacity commissioned by local authorities that has reached at least ‘preferred bidder’ status reaches financial close. The finding is in stark contrast to the potential recycling rates for LAC in the devolved administrations, which the report shows could reach 82% in Scotland and 79% in Wales.

Adam Baddeley, the report’s lead author said:

“It’s worrying that we are already in danger of limiting how far we can go with recycling in England. If we genuinely aspire to develop a circular economy, then we must shift the focus of investment away from residual waste towards options further up the hierarchy.”

The report is based on local authorities’ annual WasteDataFlow returns to Defra, and Eunomia’s Facilities Database, which holds information on all residual treatment facilities in the UK (both operating and under development) to model the balance between the two. Data is analysed on both a national and regional basis, to provide a detailed picture of where insufficient or excess capacity is anticipated.

28 Nov 2013

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