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This bulletin shows the main results from the department's survey of municipal waste arisings and management, based...
This bulletin shows the main results from the department's survey of municipal waste arisings and management, based on information supplied by local authorities. The results relate to financial years (1 April - 31 March).

A full report on the results of the 1996/97 and 1997/98 surveys is expected in the next few weeks. The results of the 1998/99 survey are provisional and are subject to revision. The 1998/99 report is due in the next couple of months.

Results covered in this notice Table 1 shows the municipal waste arisings in each of the last 3 years by authority type. It is estimated that there were 28 million

tonnes of municipal waste in 1998/99, up from 26.0 million tonnes in 1996/97.

In all 3 years, around 90% of the municipal waste arising came from household sources. 25.1 million tonnes in 1998/99 was from household sources.

The total municipal waste arisings represented nearly 25 kg per household per week in 1998/99 (equivalent to 1.3 tonnes per year), an increase of 1.5 kg since 1996/97.

The main change between 1996/97 and 1998/99 is that the amount of waste being disposed of to landfill has decreased by 3 percentage points, from 85% to 82%.

This extra diversion from landfill was for recycling and incineration. Over the same period the proportion of municipal waste recycled has increased from around 7% to around 9.5% and the proportion incinerated with energy recovery has increased from 6% to 8%.

In total just under 5 million tonnes of municipal waste had some form of value recovered from it in 1998/99 (material recycling and energy recovery), up from 3.4 million tonnes in 1996/97.

The quantities of household waste collected for recycling have changed by material and scheme type during the three reporting years. The two most significant factors have been:

- The expansion of kerbside collections for recycling, up from 30% (1996/97) to 40%of households (1998/99). The main consequence has been a significant increase in the total quantity of paper and cardboard collected;

- The expansion of centralised composting schemes, mainly through the use of green waste collections at civic amenity sites. The estimated quantity of organic waste diverted from landfill through this route has nearly doubled since 1996/97, from around 260,000 to 490,000 tonnes.

The municipal waste recovery rate has increased from 12.7% to 17.3% and the household recycling rate has increased from around 7.5% to around 9.5%.


Data for individual local authorities that did not respond to our survey have been estimated. The response rate to the 1998/99 survey was very close to 100%.

Rounding of figures

In tables where figures have been rounded to the nearest final digit, there may be slight discrepancies between the sum of the constituent items and the totals shown.

Background Note

Questionnaires are sent to all waste collection authorities (WCAs), waste disposal authorities (WDAs) and unitary authorities (UAs) in England and Wales.

They seek information on the amounts of municipal waste collected and disposed of, on the levels of recycling and recovery of household and municipal waste, on methods of waste containment, levels of service provision and details of waste collection and disposal contracts.

Municipal waste includes household waste and any other wastes collected by a waste collection authority, or its agents, such as municipal parks and gardens waste, beach cleansing waste, commercial or industrial waste and waste resulting from the clearance of fly-tipped materials.

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