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CO2 Savings from Council Recycling Services at a Record High

Friday, May 1, 2015

Latest figures suggest that carbon dioxide emissions savings from local authority waste and recycling services in the UK are at a record high.  The figures show that carbon dioxide (CO2) emission savings have improved significantly, as measured by the Recycling Carbon Index Performance, and that all countries in the UK saved more CO2 in 2013/14 than ever before.

The results, from Eunomia’s third annual Recycling Carbon Index Report show that despite slowing recycling rates, especially in England, the CO2 emission savings continue to improve.  In England 64% of local authorities have improved their Recycling Carbon Index performance, whilst in Wales and Northern Ireland 81% and 73% of local authorities respectively saw improved results.

Council recycling services in England saved 4% more greenhouse gases in 2013/14 than in 2012/13, Welsh local authorities achieved an increase of 6% and Northern Ireland’s local authorities achieved an impressive 7% increase in savings.

These significant savings have largely been attributed to the increased capture of metals and plastics across the UK.  In 2013/14, 1.7 million tonnes of carbon were saved as a result of recycling these materials, which have much higher embodied carbon compared to other common recyclable materials, such as paper, cardboard and glass.

The results have been received positively from across the sector, especially given the plateauing recycling rates that have been observed in England over the last couple of years.  The figures also help highlight the importance of considering the full environmental impacts of recycling services as well as the impacts of recycling specific materials. 

The full report from Eunomia can be accessed here

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