Recycling solution woes pile up as Cambs amongst worst in England

Green bin collection by East Cambs Council

Cambridgeshire is among the worst counties in England for discussing innovative recycling solutions on websites, a new report shows. - Credit: ECDC

Cambridgeshire is among the worst counties in England for discussing innovative recycling solutions on websites, a new report shows. 

One of the points raised was that Cambridgeshire County Council came third worst in the country for mentions on its own website about recycling. 

In the new report published by Cartridge Recycling, Cambridgeshire had just 12 mentions of recycling on its website in the last year, compared to Nottinghamshire which recorded more than 900. 

Only Essex and Somerset fared worse with just four mentions of recycling innovation each. 

The report shows that 27 per cent of people think that their council’s communication on recycling is poor while there are clear differences between regions. 

It comes as the UK generated 43.9 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2018.  

Out of this figure, 37.2 million tonnes was generated in England according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. 

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Councillor Lorna Dupre, chair of the county council’s environment and green investment committee, said the report is "narrow in its research and we don’t recognise their results.

"It negates the work district and city councils do in Cambridgeshire and it appears to be based on the number of times ‘recycling’ is mentioned on our website rather than outcomes in our area.

"Also, it doesn’t take into account our environmental aspirations to reduce carbon."

Cllr Dupre added that the county council has the fourth best recycling rate of 29 English councils, according to 2020-21 figures.

She said: “A huge amount of work is being undertaken by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Waste Partnership to improve waste services, increase recycling and reduce waste.” 

In 2020-21, local authorities in England dealt with 113 million fly-tipping incidents – an increase of 16pc from the 980,000 incidents reported in 2019-20. 

The household recycling rate in the United Kingdom has also dropped, from 45.7pc in 2017 to just 43.8pc in 2021. 

While some of this can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, there is pressure on councils to act more stringently on fly-tipping and fly-tippers when caught in the act. 

However, much of the fly-tipping that occurs could be avoided if recycling facilities were made more available to residents, the report found. 

Councillor Nick Sandford recently said that in his time as a councillor at Peterborough City Council, recycling has dropped considerably from the levels being achieved in 2008. 

Cllr Sandford said this happened in a city that takes pride from calling itself the environmental capital of the country. 

In 2008, the city council adopted a policy that aimed to achieve 45pc recycling by 2020.  

But the best it ever achieved was 43.3pc in 2019, although this dropped below 40pc two years ago. 

In January, Peterborough City Council, having once ranked fifth best in the country for recycling in 2008, was rated as 238th in the country.