St Helens Council has defended its recycling rates after research suggested it had one of the country’s worst performances.
The council was placed 290th out of 326 local authorities in the UK for its waste reduction, with just 29.3 per cent of St Helens’ household rubbish being sent for reuse, recycling or composting in 2012/13.
The statistics, compiled by Sita, showed every resident in the town generates 405kg of waste in 2012/13, with 286kg of this ending up in the black bin or bags.
However, the local authority says since then recycling rates have improved dramatically and currently stand at more than 41 per cent for 2013/14, although this is still slightly below the previous year’s national average of 43 per cent.
St Helens Council attributed the improving performance to the introduction of a weekly recycling collection, saying this has been more successful than originally anticipated.
Households in the town currently put out around 15,000 tonnes of rubbish for recycling collections, with 775 tonnes of paper and 325 tonnes of food waste being kept out of landfill.
St Helens also now recycles enough glass bottles to reach the height of the town’s famous Dream sculpture 52,716 times, while the mound of paper kept from landfill each year would be twice the height of the 20m statue and represents the equivalent of more than 7.7m newspapers.
Knowsley was also highlighted as below average by Sita, recycling 30.9 per cent of its household rubbish in 2012/13, placing it 279th in the national rankings for local authorities.
Sita called for more engagement with householders in areas with poor recycling rates to ensure they feel the process of sorting their rubbish is worthwhile.
The organisation’s chief executive officer David Palmer-Jones said: “If we are going to improve recycling rates, our industry needs to engage the householders that play such a vital role in the process and providing quality, accessible information is the first step.
“One of the findings from research on recycling was that householders have little understanding of the national picture, or their own authority’s recycling performance relative to others, which contributed to them feeling disengaged and unmotivated.”