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Greater Manchester: Which councils are the best and worst recyclers?

There are huge disparities between what different councils will collect for recycling from people’s homes . How planet-friendly your waste separation is can be a complete postcode lottery, new data from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reveals.

Less than 42 percent of household waste collected by councils across England was taken for reuse, recycling or composting in 2022/23, according to the statistics. But the recycling rates varied from just under 18 pc in Tower Hamlets – the lowest in the country – to just under 62 pc in South Oxfordshire, which was the highest.

So, how do the boroughs of Greater Manchester fare?

Overall, Greater Manchester sends just over half of its waste to be recycled, reused or composted. Yet some of the ten district councils are doing a lot more than others to stop their rubbish from winding up in landfill. 

Stockport Council is the most enthusiastic recycler of all the boroughs. Almost 60 pc of household waste goes to processing sites, which puts them among the top ten greenest waste managers in England. 

Cllr Mark Roberts, Stockport’s climate change and environment boss, said: “Stockport continues to be the number one urban (municipal) authority in the UK for recycling and it is a team effort between ourselves, the collection teams and our residents.”

He noted that the borough collected more than 95,000 tonnes of waste from more than one million household bins last year, with the majority being recycled. 

But hot on their heels came Trafford council, who recycle more than 58pc of their residents’ bin contents. With the 13th highest waste stat in the country, they belong to the top 20 recyclers out of 333 English local authorities. 

A spokesperson said “It’s great to see that Trafford has one of the top levels of recycling in the Greater Manchester region. The rate shows that Trafford residents are making a conscientious effort to recycle as best they can.”

Meanwhile Bury council recycles more than 52 percent of its residents’ cast-offs. And both Wigan and Tameside average around 51 percent. 

That’s despite recent issues in Stalybridge, Tameside that saw full bins left on the streets, with residents asked to wait up to three weeks for collections – including for bottle and can recycling. 

Bolton recycles 49 percent of waste. and with just half a percent between them Salford (47.6pc) and Rochdale (47.1pc) come in seventh and eighth, while Oldham lagged behind with less than 46pc of waste recycled. 

But it was Manchester City Council that was named and shamed as the worst recyclers of the ten borough councils. Only 39 pc of household waste was recycled. 

Coun Lee-Ann Igbon, executive member for vibrant neighbourhoods, said: “There is still work to be done to reach our 50% city target.

“The recycling rate for Manchester in 2022/23 was 38.8%, down from 39.7% in 2021/22, this was due to the impact of the hot summer in 2022. Nationally organic waste fell by 11.9% in 2022/23.

“However, Manchester’s recycling performance still remains one of the highest amongst the core cities. We want to say thank you to residents for their recycling efforts to keep our city and environment cleaner and greener.”

Manchester performed better than the City of London, Leeds and Nottingham, though it’s beaten by cities like Bristol, Newcastle and Hull. 

Coin Igbon also argued that there are different factors that affect a council’s recycling performance, such as how many homes are present or how many have gardens which enables a higher percentage of collected waste to be recycled. 

Recycling saves around 10-15 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year and stops harmful materials like plastic from winding up in our oceans and drinking water. 

 Environment Minister Robbie Moore said: “Reducing waste and increasing recycling is crucial for protecting our environment for future generations. Overall, the amount of waste from households has gone down, but recycling rates have also fallen this year.

“We know there is more to do and that is why we are pushing forward with plans for a new, simpler common-sense approach to recycling – making recycling easier for everyone across the country.”

 

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