UK Recycling Statistics 2021

UK Recycling Statistics 2021

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UK Recycling Statistics For 2021

In 2021, the UK was taking huge strides toward reducing the amount of waste it produces and increasing its recycling rate. This is in part due to the government’s 25-year plan for the environment, which aims to reduce waste and the amount of single-use plastics. It also sets out to increase recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.


UK Recycling statistics 2021


1. England’s Recycling Rate Hits 43.8%

In 2021, the recycling rate in England fell from 44.5%, to 43.8%. In the rest of the UK, Wales leads the way in recycling with a 65% recycling rate (the third highest in the world), Scotland sits at 44.7% and Northern Ireland has a rate of 50.9%.

2. 80% Of Paper and Cardboard Was Recycled

In terms of the most recycled materials, the biggest increase was seen in the recycling of paper and cardboard, with a total of 80% recycled in 2021. This popular product used in most packaging is usually 100% recyclable, and accepted at kerbside collections. This makes it easy and simple to recycle for consumers.

3. 44.2% Plastic Packaging Recycling Rate

The recycling rate of plastic packaging created by households in the United Kingdom was 44.2 percent in 2021. This is a decrease from previous years, when the recycling rate reached a high of 47.2%. It’s incredibly important to recycle plastic due to the high demand and rate at which we use this material in our products. 

4. 72% Of Cans Sold In The UK Are Recycled

Aluminium cans are widely and easily recycled. Metal was the second most recycled material in the UK in 2021, following cardboard. We recycle over 2.5 billion cans in the UK every year. This material is often used to store food and drinks.

5. 63.2% Of UK Packaging Waste Was Recycled

Provisional figures for 2021 show that 63.2% of UK packaging waste was recycled, similar to 2020. Packaging waste includes materials such as plastic, metal, cardboard, and pallets.

6. Household Waste Collected Amounted To 23.8 Million Metric Tons

The volume of household waste collected by local authorities in England amounted to 23.8 million metric tons in the 2020/2021 financial year. This was an increase from the previous year, and the largest volume collected since 2008/2009. With a large growth in waste generated, segregating materials is essential to diver the waste from landfills.

The UK’s Mission To Increase Recycling

Overall, these UK recycling statistics for 2021 highlight the progress that the UK is making toward reducing waste and increasing its recycling rate. As the government’s 25-year plan for the environment is outlined, the country is pushing to become more sustainable. Whether that be recycling more, reducing energy consumption, or using alternative products.

Find Similar Blogs

As well as UK recycling stats for 2021, we also explored a range of facts about recycling from across the world. Make sure to also check out the UK’s recycling statistics from 2022.

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