recycling glasses

The stats are in – how well did the UK do with recycling in 2018?

31st Jan, 2019

Just a few weeks ago, the UK government released our national statistics for waste processing in 2018. Like most sets of statistics, to some extent they’re open to interpretation, but there were certainly some very clear trends emerging. To save you the trouble of wading through all the numbers, we’ve summed them up here. They might be worth bearing in mind next time you come to hire a skip!

We’re burning more of our waste

One of the key findings to come out of the report is that more of our household waste is being sent to incinerators and similar plants. Specifically, the amount of rubbish we incinerated in 2018 increased by 6.5%, up to 10.8 million tonnes. So why is this happening? Well, it’s a lot to do with the fact that for local councils, new incinerator plants are a much cheaper alternative to traditional landfill.

Now, there are some proponents of burning waste, as it’s true that it can produce a fair amount of energy. The main trouble is the pollution that often comes with it. A study by the UK Without Incineration Network discovered that over the course of just one year, collectively our incinerator plants produce the same amount of air pollution as 250,000 lorries (that’s quarter of a million HGVs, to put it into even more perspective).

Our recycling rates are falling

recycling bins

OK, so Britons can give themselves a bit of a pat on the back knowing that we’ve made great strides in our recycling rates in recent years. In 2000, the national household recycling rate was just 11%. Fast forward to 2018, and that figure has jumped all the way up to 44.8%. It’s not bad, but the issue is that we’re not yet at our target of 50%. In fact, our recycling rates seem to be dipping slightly again, raising concerns amongst ministers and campaigners. The message is clear – we’ve got to up our game again if we’re to stay on track with our nation’s sustainable targets. However, there are some silver linings…

We’re producing less waste to begin with

And quite a significant amount, too. In 2018, UK households collectively produced 1.5% less waste than last year. If you’re counting, that measures up to about 9kg per person – not bad going! Analysts aren’t 100% sure as to the reasons behind it, but they’ve got a hunch that it’s partially to do with digital media. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime mean that people are buying fewer DVDs, while equally services like Spotify might be to blame for the fall in CD sales. There’s also some indication that British manufacturers and retailers are having some success in our mission to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging, though you don’t need us to tell you that we’ve still got a long way to go yet!

Whether it all looks like gloomy news to you, or you’re more optimistic about our progress, everybody can agree the stats have made one thing clear – individual effort can in fact make all the difference. It’s certainly our stance here at Skip Hire Network. Environmental and sustainability efforts are issues very close to our hearts, which is why we go to great lengths to recycle as much as we possibly can from every bit of waste that comes our way. And it means that when you hire a skip from us, you can rest assured in the knowledge that it’s all being disposed of in a responsible way.

You can find out more reasons to choose us, or simply head on over to our homepage to get your instant skip hire quote today!