Norwich and North Norfolk recycling less compared to five years ago
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
Less household waste is being recycled in Norwich and North Norfolk than it was five years ago, new figures reveal.
According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), only one local authority in Norfolk is meeting the government's recycling targets.
And between March 2016 and 2017, less than half of all household waste thrown away in Norfolk was recycled.
The latest figures show that Great Yarmouth is the worst in the county for recycling, with just 33.3pc of household waste being reprocessed.
In the last financial year, on average, each home in Great Yarmouth chucked out 519kg of refuse which was not recycled - more than the weight of a grand piano.
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The data also revealed that Norwich and North Norfolk councils are recycling less than they were in 2011/12.
In Norwich, 38pc of all rubbish from households was either recycled, reused or composted - three percent less than in the same period five years ago.
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Meanwhile, in North Norfolk, 42pc of household waste was recycled, compared to 43pc in 2011/12.
Norwich Green Party leader Martin Schmierer said the figures were 'deeply concerning'.
But he added that he was confident more people were becoming aware of the importance of recycling.
The county's overall household waste recycling rate for 2016/17 was 46.7pc - just under the government's target of 50pc by 2020.
However, it is above the amount being recycled five years ago, which was 45pc, and is higher than the England average of 44pc.
A spokesman for Norwich City Council said the drop in reported recycling rates for Norwich was due to a change in how it was calculated.
The council said in 2011 it was allowed to include street sweepings which went off for recycling.
'We're no longer allowed to include these, which at 1,200 tonnes a year, equates to around 3pc of the waste we collect,' the spokesman said.
North Norfolk District Council did no respond to a request for comment.
The county's dry, mixed recycling is handled by Norse Environmental Waste Services (NEWS).
It is reprocessed at its Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Costessey before being marketed and sold on.
Waste paper and plastic bottles is sent overseas to countries including China, India and Holland.
Meanwhile, food and garden waste, which is only collected by a handful of councils in Norfolk is sent to Northamptonshire.
The latest figures from Defra show in the past financial year Norfolk cleared away 425,657 tonnes of rubbish - 95pc of which was household waste.
Of the 189,031 tonnes from homes which was recycled or reused, 55pc was dry recycling and the rest was compost.
The 53pc that wasn't recycled either went into landfill or was incinerated at special treatment plants, with the ash used as a fuel for energy and also in construction projects.
Broadland District Council was the only local authority in Norfolk to meet the government's recycling target. Figures show that 51pc of waste collected in 2016/17 was recycled.
The Norfolk Waste Partnership, which is made up of the county's seven councils, said 2016/17 had been the highest overall recycling rate Norfolk had achieved to date.
A spokesman said: 'We have some way to go to be one of the best recyclers but saying that, we are holding our own and for the second year in a row, Norfolk's recycling rate is higher than the England average.'
It added that Norfolk only sent 2.1pc of its waste to landfill in 2016/17.
Figures from Norfolk County Council show £6.5m was paid to NEWS from January to September this year.
Meanwhile, £5.2m was paid to FCC Recycling, which has a contract with the council to run recycling centres.
Norwich Green Party councillor Mr Schmierer said: 'These [recycling] figures are deeply concerning as we are meant to moving towards an environmentally-friendly future.
'When you look at the way recycling happens in other countries, like Germany, they do seem to be ahead of us in regard to green policies and attitudes.'
Norwich City Council said it would be focusing its efforts on new recycling campaigns in 2018.