Oxfordshire has been named the best performing county council waste disposal authority in England for the sixth year in a row, thanks to residents’ commitment to the environment.
Last year Oxfordshire residents recycled or composted a larger proportion of their household waste than the previous year in contrast to a fall in the national average for recycling, according to new government figures released on Friday 29 November.
Recycling officers at Oxfordshire County Council point to residents recycling more of their food waste as an important reason for the increase. Nearly 20,000 tonnes of food waste was recycled in 2018/19, up 6% on the previous year. The four district councils and the city council in Oxford operate the kerbside collections of household recycling and waste, which Oxfordshire County Council then disposes of.
Overall, 58% of household waste was recycled in Oxfordshire last year, compared to 57% the previous year. The national average was only 44.8% according to the figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Individually, the five District and City Authorities in Oxfordshire have also achieved excellent results above the national average.
Yvonne Rees, Chief Executive at Oxfordshire County Council, said:
“I would like to thank our residents who have done another great job of recycling, so the county keeps the top spot in the country. Oxfordshire councils provide really good waste collection and recycling services, but it is only because most people use them properly that we’re able to perform so well.”
But waste officers at the county council have said that there is still a lot more to be done to improve recycling rates and the county council is keen to see further improvements as part of its goal to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. The Oxford Environmental Partnership of the Oxfordshire district, city and county councils has a target to increase recycling to 70% by 2025.
Around half of the waste put in the general waste bin – the bin for non-recyclable materials only – could actually be recycled. Further increasing the amount of waste that is recycled or composted would make a huge difference to the county’s figures and save precious resources from being wasted.
The county’s leading place is down to the commitment of our residents to reduce and dispose of waste responsibly. The County Council’s Waste Disposal Authority, together with the five district and city authorities in Oxfordshire, provides comprehensive services to maximise the amount of materials that can be collected for reuse, recycling and composting.
Oxfordshire also has a very active network of community action groups (CAGs) funded by the county council that help tackle and reduce waste, especially the Replenish network which is doing great work to tackle food waste.
Residents can use one of seven household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the county. This is part of the county council’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life in our communities, and the protection of the local environment are top priorities.
Yvonne Rees of Oxfordshire County Council added: “We’re not complacent though. This year more waste collected for recycling than ever before has been rejected due to the wrong waste being put into the wrong kerbside containers such as textiles, nappies and food being put in the mixed recycling bin.
“We know that around half the items placed in the general waste bin could have been recycled using the services provided locally, and this includes a huge amount of food waste. So please check your local council website, make sure you’re recycling everything you can and look for tips on how to reduce the amount of waste your household produces.”