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Rubbish Stats: Official waste stats updated May 2022.

Gov.uk has released a paper documenting the latest statistics gathered from 2020 and 2021. Topics include; household recycling rates, biodegradable waste sent to landfill, packaging waste and commercial and industrial waste. As a plasterboard recycling business we like to keep our fingers on the pulse of any findings that relate to waste management.


Information taken from UK statistics on waste - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


The key points from the report taken from gov.uk:

  • The UK recycling rate for Waste from Households (WfH; including Incinerator Bottom Ash metal (IBAm)) was 44.4% in 2020, decreasing from 46.0% in 2019.

  • The recycling rate for WfH decreased in all UK countries in 2020 except Wales. The recycling rate for England was 44.0%, compared with 49.1% in Northern Ireland, 41.0% in Scotland, and 56.5% in Wales.

  • UK biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill has fallen from approximately 6.6 million tonnes in 2019 to around 6.1 million tonnes in 2020.

  • Provisional figures for 2021 show that 63.2% of UK packaging waste was recycled, similar to 2020.

  • It is estimated that the UK generated 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste in 2018, of which 37.2 million tonnes (85%) was generated in England. The latest estimates for England only, indicate that C&I waste generation was around 33.8 million tonnes in 2020.

  • The UK generated 222.2 million tonnes of total waste in 2018, with England responsible for 84% of the UK total.

Recycled Waste

  • Total UK WfH generation was 27.0 million tonnes in 2020, an increase of 2.1% from 2019. England is responsible for the vast majority of UK WfH, generating 22.6 million tonnes (84% of the UK total) in 2020.

  • The UK WfH recycling rate (including IBA metal) was 44.4% in 2020, decreasing from 46.0% in 2019.

  • The recycling rate for waste from households decreased in all UK countries except Wales in 2020. The recycling rate for England was 44.0%, compared with 49.1% in Northern Ireland, 41.0% in Scotland, and 56.5% in Wales.


Biodegradable municipal waste.

UK BMW sent to landfill in 2020 was 6.1 million tonnes. UK tonnages of BMW to landfill have reduced each year since 2010, except in 2016 when there was a small increase. England is responsible for over four fifths (81%) of UK BMW to landfill, generating 4.9 million tonnes of the 6.1 million tonnes UK total in 2020.


Packaging Waste:


Recycling accounted for 8.0 million tonnes of the 12.6 million tonnes of packaging waste arisings in 2021. Paper and cardboard had the highest waste arisings, at 5.4 million tonnes.

The highest recycling rate achieved in 2021 was 76.0% for metal, followed by 73.6% for glass and 70.6% for paper and cardboard.


Construction & Demolition Waste:

Recovery rate from non-hazardous construction and demolition (C&D) waste

UK estimates of recovery rates from non-hazardous C&D waste have been calculated for 2017 and 2018. England estimates of recovery rates from non-hazardous C&D waste have been calculated for 2019 and 2020. Accurately quantifying C&D waste is challenging and whilst the absolute tonnage figures are subject to a relatively high level of uncertainty, there is not a significant impact on the final recovery rate.

In 2018, the UK generated 67.8 million tonnes of non-hazardous C&D waste, of which 62.6 million tonnes was recovered. This represents a recovery rate of 92.3%.

The UK recovery rate from non-hazardous C&D waste has remained at similar levels from 2010 to 2018.


In 2020, England generated 53.6 million tonnes of non-hazardous C&D waste, of which 50.0 million tonnes was recovered. This represents a recovery rate of 93.2%. The England recovery rate from non-hazardous C&D waste has remained at 92–93% from 2010 to 2020.


The full report is available to read here.

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