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DEFRA today published provisional estimates from the department's ...
DEFRA today published provisional estimates from the department's

latest Municipal Waste Management Survey. The results are based on

information supplied by local authorities in England for the

financial year 2002/2003.

Municipal waste arisings and management

* The total amount of municipal waste has continued to rise to an

estimated 29.3 million tonnes in England in 2002/03 compared to 28.8

million tonnes in 2001/02, an increase of 1.8 per cent.

* In total, 24.8 per cent (7.3 million tonnes) of municipal waste had

some sort of value (recycling, composting, energy from waste)

recovered from it in 2002/03, a rise from 22.4 per cent (6.4 million

tonnes) in 2001/02.

* The proportion of municipal waste being recycled or composted

increased from 13.6 per cent in 2001/02 to 15.6 per cent in 2002/03.

The proportion of waste incinerated with energy recovery has remained

roughly constant at just under 9 per cent.

* The proportion of municipal waste being disposed of in landfill has

decreased from 77 per cent in 2001/02 to 75 per cent in 2002/03.

* For the first time in recent years the actual tonnage of municipal

waste disposed of in landfill has also decreased slightly from 22.3

million tonnes in 2001/02 to 22.0 million tonnes in 2002/03. It is

now about the same level it was in 1999/00.

Household waste and recycling

* In 2002/03, household sources accounted for around 88 per cent of

municipal waste, 25.8 million tonnes. This compares to 25.6 million

tonnes in 2001/02 an increase of 1.1 per cent.

* About 521 kg of household waste per person per year was collected

in 2002/03 compared to 517 kg in 2001/02, an increase of 0.8 percent.

* The proportion of household waste recycled (including composting)

has continued to increase, rising from 12.5 per cent in 2001/02 to

14.5 per cent in 2002/03. This increase of 2 percentage points in the

recycling rate is more than the 1 percentage point that has been the

norm in previous years.

* In absolute terms the amount of household waste collected for

recycling has increased by 17 per cent, from 3.2 million tonnes in

2001/02 to 3.7 million tonnes in 2002/03. Over the last six years the

amount of household waste recycled has more than doubled.

* The amount of household waste collected for recycling at civic

amenity and bring sites has increased by 12 percent from 2.2 million

tonnes in 2001/02 to 2.5 million tonnes in 2002/03.

* The amount of recycled household material collected through

'kerbside' schemes rose by 29 per cent from 1.0 million tonnes in

2001/02 to 1.3 million tonnes in 2002/03.

* The greater increase in kerbside recycling means it accounted for

34 per cent of the total household recycling in 2002/03 compared to

31 per cent in 2001/02. The proportion from civic amenity and bring

sites was 66 per cent down from 69 per cent in 2001/02.

* It is estimated that the proportion of households served by a

kerbside recycling scheme increased from 58 per cent in 2001/02 to 66

per cent in 2002/03.

* For the first time the most recycled material was compostable waste

with over 1 million tonnes recycled (32 per cent of the total) in

2002/03, paper is the next most common material at 30 per cent of the

total, followed by glass (13 per cent).

* The chart below shows the changes in household waste and recycling

per capita and forms part of the waste headline indicator of

sustainable development.

Household waste and recycling: 1983/84 - 2002/03

Regional variations

There continues to be significant variations in household recycling

rates between different regions. The highest recycling regions in

2002/03 were the South East (19.7 per cent) and the East (19.4 per

cent). The North East had the lowest rate of 6.6 per cent.

The tables showing summary estimates, by region, from the 2002/03

Municipal Waste Management survey, together with results from earlier

years may be found on the DEFRA website at:

Table 1 shows a breakdown of municipal waste, 1996/97- 2002/03.

Table 2 shows the management of municipal waste, 1996/97- 2002/03.

Table 3 shows the recycling and recovery rates for household and

municipal waste, 1996/97- 2002/03.

Table 4 shows household waste and recycling per capita, 1983/84 -


Table 5 shows the regional household recycling rates 1996/97 -



1. These tables are the first release of data from the 2002/03

Municipal Waste Management Survey and include results from local

authorities in England. The data are provisional and may be subject

to revision. Some figures for 2001/02 have been revised and may

differ from those in previous publications. A bulletin with more

detailed results from the 2002/03 survey is planned for the early


2. The 2002/03 Municipal Waste Management Survey is the eighth in the

series. Only limited data from the first survey in 1995/96 are

available on a consistent basis and so comparisons over time are

confined to the most recent seven years.

3. The estimates are based on information from questionnaires sent

out to all waste collection authorities (WCAs), waste disposal

authorities (WDAs) and unitary authorities (UAs) in England. 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.

4. The response rate to the 2002/03 survey was 98 per cent. Missing

data and data for individual local authorities that did not respond

to the survey have been estimated.

5. Household waste includes household collection rounds ('bin'

waste), other household collections such as bulky waste collections,

waste from services such as, l itter collections, waste from civic

amenity sites and wastes separately collected for recycling or

composting through bring/drop off schemes, kerbside schemes and at

civic amenity sites. Municipal waste includes household waste and

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.

6. The chart showing household waste and recycling figures forms

part of the waste headline indicator and is one of the supporting

indicators, (indicator A5), of sustainable development set out in the

'Quality of Life' counts: indicators for a strategy for sustainable

development for the United Kingdom' (December 1999), and 'Quality of

life counts update 2004' (March 2004). It is also found in

'Sustainable development indicators in your pocket 2004' (April

2004). There are 15 headline indicators which form a 'quality of life

barometer' measuring everyday concerns like housing quality, health,

jobs, air quality, educational achievement, wildlife, economic

prosperity and waste (industrial, commercial and household). They are

intended to focus public attention on what sustainable development

means and to give a broad overview of whether we are 'achieving a

better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to

come'. A leaflet, Quality of Life Barometer, summarising progress in

all the headline indicators, is issued roughly once a quarter to

coincide with the update of one of the indicators or other key

publications. For copies of the Quality of Life Barometer leaflet

please telephone: 020 7082 8621. The indicators are also regularly

updated on the government's Sustainable Development web site.

A consultation on a new UK sustainable development strategy - 'Taking

it on' - was launched on 21 April. The consult ation material is

available on

7. Waste Strategy 2000 for England and Wales set out targets for the

management of municipal and household waste. These include a target

to recycle or compost at least 25 per cent of household waste by 2005

and to recover value from 40 per cent of municipal waste by the same



164/04 29 April 2004


Figures published today show a pronounced drop - the first in four

years across England - in the amount of waste collected by local

authorities being dumped on landfill sites.

The fall of 331,000 tonnes of rubbish in 2002/3 is an even bigger

fall than the last time landfilling dropped in 1998 by 231,000


Household recycling meanwhile and composting increased by two

percentage points in 2002/03 to 14. 5%, according to provisional

estimates from Defra's latest Municipal Waste Management Survey.

This confirms earlier predictions that the 17% national recycling

target for 2003/04 is within reach, Environment Minister Elliot

Morley said today.

The 2002/03 Survey also indicates a slower rate of growth in waste

than in previous years.

Welcoming the news, Environment Minister Elliot Morley said:

'These results confirm what I've been seeing for some time now - that

local authorities across the country are working hard to manage waste

more sustainably. This is real evidence of the step change advocated

by the Prime Minister in the Strategy Unit's 2002 report Waste not,

want not.

'I am encouraged when I see a significant fall in the amount of

rubbish local authorities send to landfill. I hope this continues as

we have relied on landfill as an unsustainable convenient option for

waste management for far too many years in England. That convenience

has to stop.

'In view of the immense challenge ahead to meet tough recycling

targets in 2005/06 and fulfil our obligations under the Landfill

Directive, it's vital that all authorities, including the very

disappointing minority which made no improvement at all in their

recycling levels last year, continue to press ahead.

'Once the data is available later this year, we and local people

will be able to judge individual authorities' performance in 2003/04

against their statutory recycling targets. We will be keen to

celebrate success and focus on ensuring that poor performers raise

their game.

'In the meantime I urge all authorities to make full use of the

support and advice available through Defra's Waste Implementation

Programme to identify barriers to improve recycling performance and

work together on solutions.'


1. Defra today published provisional estimates from the Department's

latest Municipal Waste Management Survey. The results are based on

information supplied by local authorities in England for the

financial year 2002/03 and are available from the statistical release

in the news section of Defra's website today. These are provisional

and may be subject to revision.

2. Earlier national recycling estimates were based on local authority

Best Value Performance Indicator results for 2002/03 - see press

release at . Further

information on BVPIs is available at

3. Defra's Waste Implementation Programme is devoting£174m over the

next three years to strategic measures helping authorities to divert

waste from landfill. The programme includes a Local Authority Support

Unit, aimed specifically at assisting local authorities to reach

their statutory recycling targets, and ultimately their landfill

allowances, in order to meet the Landfill D irective targets.

The Unit is identifying barriers to improved recycling performance

and provide help, where appropriate, in the form of best practice

guidance, practical support and consultancy advice. More information

can be found at

4. The Secretary of State has powers under section 15 of the Local

Government Act 1999 to act where authorities are failing to deliver

Best Value. She may consider using these powers to require an

authority to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that statutory

performance standards for recycling and composting are met. That is

likely to have financial consequences for such an authority. In

general, however, Ministers have made clear that they would only use

intervention powers as a last resort. Defra is committed to working

with local authorities, including through the Waste Implementation

Programme, to ensure that standards are met.

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