J3: Municipal waste recycling rates

Short Description

This indicator shows changes in municipal waste recycling rates in England. The municipal waste recycling rate is the fraction of household waste and waste similar in nature and composition to household waste, which is recycled. The indicator reflects levels of everyday waste that is recycled and not sent for final disposal. Development of the Defra ‘waste tracking’ tool and further integration with data collected by local authorities will close some of the data gaps and enable collection of more comprehensive data.

Readiness and links to data

This indicator is not available for reporting in 2023 in a finalised form. An interim indicator is presented here that shows trends in ‘household waste and ‘waste from households’ recycling rates’. These waste data are already published annually as National Statistics. Further development is required to include waste that is similar in nature and composition to household waste such as non-household municipal waste. Information is available about the development of Defra’s ‘waste tracking’ tool.

Indicator components

Figure J3: ‘Household waste’ and ‘waste from households’ recycling rates in England, 2000/2001 to 2021/2022

Table J3: ‘Household waste’ and ‘waste from households’ recycling rates in England, 2000/2001 to 2021/2022

Year Household waste recycling rate (2000/2001 to 2010/2011) Waste from households recycling rate (2010/2011 to 2021/2022)
2000/2001 11.20 -
2001/2002 12.50 -
2002/2003 14.50 -
2003/2004 17.80 -
2004/2005 22.50 -
2005/2006 26.70 -
2006/2007 30.90 -
2007/2008 34.50 -
2008/2009 37.60 -
2009/2010 39.70 -
2010/2011 41.50 41.90
2011/2012 - 43.30
2012/2013 - 43.90
2013/2014 - 44.50
2014/2015 - 44.70
2015/2016 - 44.40
2016/2017 - 45.10
2017/2018 - 44.80
2018/2019 - 45.10
2019/2020 - 45.50
2020/2021 - 43.80
2021/2022 - 44.10

Trend description for J3

In the 2021/2022 financial year, the recycling rate for ‘waste from households’ was 44.1%, up 2.2 percentage points on the equivalent figure for 2010/2011 (when the measure was first reported), but down 1.4 percentage points since 2019/2020. After a decrease of 1.7 percentage points between the years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, the recycling rate has levelled off.

Assessment of change

In 2011, there was a change in the methodology used to produce for the Municipal waste recycling rates interim indicator. As this was not directly comparable to the previous method, we have only assessed trends using data following the new method. This limits the length of time series available, so no assessment is provided for medium and long-term time periods.

Little or no change was observed over the short term. This is in contrast to historic improvements recorded using the old method.

Change since 2018 has also been assessed. There has been little or no change in municipal recycling rates since 2018, based on 4 years of data. We set a minimum of 5 data points for the production of a robust trend for this assessment so this result should be treated with caution until the next iteration is available.

Further information on this assessment, along with details on the methodology, is provided in the Assessment background page. Summaries by 25 Year Environment Plan goal and information on indicator links are presented in the Assessment results pages.

Table J3: Assessment of change

Component Subcomponent Period Date range Percentage change Smoothing function Assessment of change
J3 None Short term 2015/2016 to 2020/2021 -0.53 Loess Little or no change
J3 None Medium term N/A N/A N/A Not assessed
J3 None Long term N/A N/A N/A Not assessed

Note that assessment categories were assigned based on smoothed data, so percent change figures in Table J3 may differ from unsmoothed values quoted elsewhere. Percent change refers to the difference seen between the first and last years in the specified date range.

Indicator Metadata