Britain’s Recycling – How We Perform by Region

Britain’s Recycling – How We Perform by Region

The UK has local authorities operating a range of different systems which are put in place for the collection of recyclable materials from households. However, recycling habits tend to change rather drastically depending on where one lives in the UK, with the amount that we recycle appearing to be inconsistent when evaluated taking into account the UK as a whole.

The lowest performing areas per household see recycling accounting for less than a fifth of all the waste materials that they produce. However, in those areas where recycling is at its highest, 67% of all waste materials produced by these households is in some way recycled. The pertinent question to ask though is how do local authorities fare across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales? Specialists in mixed recycling, O’Brien Waste Recycling Solutions, helps us take a closer look at the UK’s recycling habits.


Home counties

The home counties (surrounding but not including London) had Rochford coming in as the highest recycling local authority with 68%, located just east of the capital. Next in line was Surrey Heath, boasting a rather healthy recycling percentage of 62.1%.

Lewes came in as the lowest performing local authority within this region, with only 21.25% of all household waste being recycled. That’s quite a sizeable difference of 46.5% between the home counties’ lowest and highest recyclers. Modest performances were recorded from local authorities such as West Berkshire (51.8%), Waverly (54.8%) and Aylesbury Vale (52%), while other authorities including the likes of Chichester (39.9%), Sevenoaks (31.9%) and Thurrock (37.9%) recycled less and subsequently fared poorer.


Local authorities within the capital have the lowest performing recycling rates of any of the country’s local authorities. More than likely, this would be as result of the fact that London has the highest waste per person concentration, with the capital containing 7,074,265 residents.

Bexley came in as the highest recycling local authority within the capital, finding other uses for 52% of all the waste it generated.

However, the local authorities of Newham and Westminster are the lowest recyclers in the UK. In 2016, Newham recycled only 14.7% while Westminster Council recycled 17.3% of all of its waste. Whether this is due to the density of people within these areas, or indeed if it’s due to the amount of waste that is produced, greater education regarding recycling may just be a worthwhile investment in the long-term. This way, lots more can be recycled within these inner-city areas.

North East

Yorkshire’s East Riding boasts a great recycling rate in the North East of England, with a rather astounding 66.1%. Sunderland, with 29.4% makes up one of four different local authorities within this region falling below the 30% mark.


It’s quite apparent that in this part of the country there is a high recycling rate overall, with the highest authority being that of Stratford-on-Avon (60.4%). Few local authorities have very low reuse, recycling and composting rates, namely Bassetlaw (20.1%), Birmingham (22.9%) and South Holland (27.9%) within the year of 2015-2016.

Share this Story

Related Posts

Learn Business from the experts.

With one interview and a selection of finance articles every week, join 3,000 others on weekly newsletter here.

Looking for Something Special?

About Experts In Focus

Welcome to Experts In Focus, formed from a group of old r/business users from Reddit who wanted a place to gather the best interviews and create a resource for learning for the future - all in the same place.

We have a group of 5 contributors so we have a variety of styles and a variety of different types of content published. We focus on quality not quantity.

One last thing, we're here for you in the comments to answer any questions you have, and we're always ready to jump in on any feedback in our interviews and articles.

Welcome to