Somerset celebrates highest-ever recycling rate with launch of Recycling Week

By Laura Linham

18th Sep 2023 | Local News

Out of the 6,500 tonnes of plastics collected, a full 100% was sent to UK-based reprocessors
Out of the 6,500 tonnes of plastics collected, a full 100% was sent to UK-based reprocessors

Somerset Council is kicking off its 'Recycling Week' on a high note, boasting the county's highest-ever recycling rate of 56.4%.

The latest data from the recycling tracker, an initiative pioneered by the Somerset Waste Partnership in 2008, reveals the groundbreaking results and shows the flow of every tonne of household waste from collection to recycling.

The data for the financial year 2022/23 indicates that over 142,500 tonnes of material were collected for recycling and reuse. Even more impressively, 96.6% of this material stayed in the UK for reprocessing, with 54.4% remaining within Somerset.

Out of the 6,500 tonnes of plastics collected, a full 100% was sent to UK-based reprocessors. In a further win for sustainability, the amount of waste going to landfill plummeted to 6,444 tonnes, almost half compared to the previous year, while 103,897 tonnes were directed towards Energy from Waste.

The efforts of Somerset residents saved an estimated 125,254 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to removing 48,175 cars from the road for an entire year.

Key additional figures included:

  • 23,270 tonnes of food waste were collected, all of which stayed in Somerset, going to an anaerobic digestion plant to produce biofertiliser and biogas.
  • 41,330 tonnes of garden waste were collected, staying within the county and being processed into compost.
  • 4,096 tonnes of electricals and batteries were recycled in the UK, with an additional 3.5 tonnes of smart tech donated for reuse via Fixy.

During Recycling Week, Somerset residents are encouraged to seek out hidden recyclables in their homes, supported by various tips and guidance.

The week commenced with a day of behind-the-scenes tours of the 'Material Recycling Facility' (MRF) at Evercreech. Managed by Suez, the council's collections contractor, the open day offered 100 locals a firsthand look at the complex sorting machinery that separates recyclable materials.

Cllr Dixie Darch, Executive Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, praised the community's collective efforts: "The recycling tracker is a valuable tool and shows how committed we are to responsibly processing our waste. The increased recycling rate and falling landfill are very positive and show that residents are, like Somerset Council, working hard to make the county greener and more sustainable."

For those interested in diving deeper into the data, the full recycling tracker report is available on Somerset Council's website.


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