Which English Councils are Best and Worst at Recycling? Top 10 and Bottom 10 Revealed

The government is now backing a goal of recycling 65% of waste by 2035, matching aggressive EU targets. With the average recycling rate in England sitting at 42.3% across the country, there's quite a way to go on a national level. A few councils stand out for having the best recycling rates, but only one council is already within 2 percentage points of the 65% target: Three Rivers District Council.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, England households produced 21.8 million tonnes of waste in 2021/22, 9 million tonnes of which was sent for recycling. Which councils are doing the best and the worse across England to recycling this staggering amount of waste?

Table of Contents

Best Recycling Rates in England

The Three Rivers District Council topped the charts as the best local authority for recycling yet again, achieving the top spot out of more than 300 local authority areas with a recycling rate of 63.5%. As a result they were awarded the trophy for the best council in England for recycling for 2021/22. Three Rivers was also #1 in 2019/20 and #3 in 2020/21.

The next best council for household recycling in 2021/22 was South Oxfordshire District Council with a household recycling rate of 62.7%, followed by St Albans City and District Council (which was #1 in 2020/21) with a household recycling rate of 62.4%.

Chart showing which areas in England have the best recycling rates

Vale of White Horse, St Albans, Surrey Heath, Derbyshire Dales, Rochford, North Somerset, Stratford-on-Avon, East Devon and South Northamptonshire round out the top 12, all with recycling rates of at least 59.9%.

Rank of English Councils with Best Recycling RatesTotal Household Waste (tonnes)Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse% of Household Waste Recycled
1Three Rivers District Council33,80521,45363.5%
2South Oxfordshire District Council54,22833,98662.7%
3St Albans City and District Council53,04633,12762.4%
4Vale of White Horse District Council48,58930,05361.9%
5East Devon District Council49,52830,23461.0%
6Stockport MBC104,21362,85160.3%
7East Riding of Yorkshire Council178,205107,04460.1%
8Tandridge District Council33,89420,31859.9%
9Rochford District Council35,27221,12759.9%
10South Gloucestershire Council122,52273,35559.9%
11Dorset Council182,942109,43659.8%
12North Somerset Council98,29458,48059.5%

Worst Recycling Rates in England

Barrow-in-Furness (North West) and Tower Hamlet (London) have the worst household recycling rates in the country, a mere 17.7% and 19.7%, respectively. Overall, the 12 worst local authorities for recycling in England all recycle 25.5% or less of household waste—in fact, the worst councils recycle at less than half the rate of the best 12 councils.

Chart showing which areas in England have the worst recycling rates

What's the worst region? London. In fact, 5 of the 12 worst councils in England for household recycling fall within London. Overall, London only recycles 34.4% of household waste.

Rank of English Councils with Worst Recycling RatesTotal Household Waste (tonnes)Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse% of Household Waste Recycled
293Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council88,05022,59225.7%
294Exeter City Council39,1229,97925.5%
295Nottingham City Council117,45029,70525.3%
296Newham LB126,21331,30024.8%
297Dartford Borough Council41,43510,05424.3%
298Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea47,23710,90323.1%
299Liverpool City Council192,24744,04222.9%
300Wandsworth LB99,36622,73522.9%
301Birmingham City Council401,22591,67022.8%
302Westminster City Council73,20715,32320.9%
303Tower Hamlets LB88,27317,40319.7%
304Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council25,4744,51917.7%


In England, local authority recycling rates range from 17.7% (Barrow-in-Furness) up to 63.5% (Three Rivers). Click to read about the best and worst local areas and find how your council compares.
Recycling rates in Brighton and Hove are low, where only 30.1% of household waste was recycled in 2021/22, ranking the area271 out of 304 local authorities and councils in England.
Recycling rates in Bristol are higher than average, with 45.6% of household waste recycled in 2021/22, ranking the area in the top third of the country for recycling (107 out of 304 local authorities and councils in England).
Only 33.8% of household waste is recycled in London, making it the worst region in England. Click to learn more about London recycling rates.


Here is the data used in this study to determine the best and worst councils for recycling in England, which we sourced from www.gov.uk. The list is sorted alphabetically so you can find your local area and see how it ranks and compares to the rest of England. Note, we have included collection and council data but excluded disposal data, to avoid double counting.

Rank (1=best, 304=worst)CouncilTotal Household Waste (tonnes)Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse% of Household Waste Recycled
160Adur District Council19607812341.4%
220Allerdale Borough Council408561470736.0%
276Amber Valley Borough Council481861423029.5%
143Arun District Council600612559642.6%
204Ashfield District Council481231782337.0%
55Ashford Borough Council492692546651.7%
266Barking and Dagenham LB855602610330.5%
273Barnet LB1443634300629.8%
117Barnsley MBC1064744778544.9%
304Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council25474451917.7%
113Basildon District Council837073787345.2%
275Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council641281902729.7%
291Bassetlaw District Council467861236426.4%
16Bath and North East Somerset Council754034460259.2%
141Bexley LB904503861042.7%
301Birmingham City Council4012259167022.8%
148Blaby District Council378191597442.2%
268Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council544551655830.4%
159Blackpool Borough Council652952724941.7%
191Bolsover District Council343471323538.5%
64Bolton MBC933524751150.9%
235Boston Borough Council293651007334.3%
92Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council1733278217047.4%
27Bracknell Forest Borough Council483612717856.2%
218Bradford City MDC (MBC)2063567445936.1%
93Braintree District Council640393014447.1%
177Breckland Council553442224540.2%
199Brent LB897383396137.8%
168Brentwood Borough Council305511242240.7%
271Brighton and Hove Council1022093075530.1%
107Bristol City Council1659967576045.6%
65Broadland District Council537512720350.6%
77Bromley LB1285636259048.7%
155Bromsgrove District Council409361710841.8%
153Broxbourne Borough Council368741542041.8%
226Broxtowe Borough Council421901504235.7%
71Buckinghamshire Council23919911768449.2%
252Burnley Borough Council315791015532.2%
44Bury MBC643763466453.8%
62Calderdale MBC835804281451.2%
75Cambridge City and South Cambs Councils1072305243748.9%
282Camden LB630011767928.1%
152Cannock Chase Council400631680041.9%
118Canterbury City Council531952387344.9%
164Carlisle City Council445681828041.0%
88Castle Point Borough Council354711689547.6%
105Central Bedfordshire1273345835745.8%
134Charnwood Borough Council636112762143.4%
157Chelmsford Borough Council745323112641.8%
69Cheltenham Borough Council490652464050.2%
32Cherwell District Council654563617455.3%
25Cheshire East19982611255456.3%
23Cheshire West and Chester1707039835757.6%
139Chesterfield Borough Council415841786943.0%
94Chichester District Council476322239247.0%
95Chorley Borough Council465022173946.7%
257City of London3432109631.9%
33Colchester Borough Council643333524954.8%
223Copeland Borough Council27307977535.8%
15Cotswold District Council399942367259.2%
176Council of the Isles of Scilly137355340.3%
198County Durham2452469338838.1%
280Coventry City Council1222653497628.6%
184Craven District Council21821857539.3%
260Crawley Borough Council352671107231.4%
192Croydon LB1403415404738.5%
50Dacorum Borough Council584533082052.7%
248Darlington Borough Council462031496832.4%
297Dartford Borough Council414351005424.3%
201Derby City Council1031093845437.3%
57Derbyshire Dales District Council263761359251.5%
120Doncaster MBC1418836354444.8%
11Dorset Council18294210943659.8%
129Dover District Council416721821343.7%
215Dudley MBC1274244638836.4%
87Ealing LB879774191447.6%
24East Cambridgeshire District Council328101855956.6%
5East Devon District Council495283023461.0%
209East Hampshire District Council421921550636.8%
103East Hertfordshire District Council568492632746.3%
171East Lindsey District Council574992327040.5%
7East Riding of Yorkshire Council17820510704460.1%
154East Staffordshire Borough Council488742043441.8%
174East Suffolk Council1023964139740.4%
187Eastbourne Borough Council349011356238.9%
127Eastleigh Borough Council468612055243.9%
125Eden District Council21137931644.1%
61Elmbridge Borough Council525612694451.3%
265Enfield LB1095103385330.9%
37Epping Forest Borough Council569243087354.2%
35Epsom and Ewell Borough Council300621632754.3%
156Erewash Borough Council468981959341.8%
294Exeter City Council39122997925.5%
228Fareham Borough Council364491282335.2%
178Fenland District Council435001729339.8%
112Folkestone and Hythe District Council406971842945.3%
36Forest of Dean District Council352931915354.3%
122Fylde Borough Council330931468644.4%
258Gateshead MBC900052856131.7%
241Gedling Borough Council461241525933.1%
130Gloucester City Council475852077943.7%
286Gosport Borough Council26336715627.2%
145Gravesham Borough Council369511565342.4%
263Great Yarmouth Borough Council401221243231.0%
259Greenwich LB1073833382131.5%
13Guildford Borough Council543303224159.3%
277Hackney LB868632526629.1%
206Halton Borough Council599582213736.9%
79Hambleton District Council362001745448.2%
292Hammersmith and Fulham LB445581170426.3%
121Harborough District Council386941731144.7%
269Haringey LB837522529530.2%
181Harlow District Council297621180839.7%
144Harrogate Borough Council553492355242.6%
225Harrow LB909123242135.7%
166Hart District Council349281430040.9%
246Hartlepool Borough Council395521289332.6%
261Hastings Borough Council321521003931.2%
247Havant Borough Council444071447232.6%
211Havering LB1099784029936.6%
185Herefordshire Council736112883039.2%
123Hertsmere Borough Council398711767944.3%
86High Peak Borough Council354191689947.7%
195Hillingdon LB1079264121738.2%
142Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council464361981842.7%
46Horsham District Council566833009353.1%
222Hounslow LB924383315135.9%
30Huntingdonshire District Council728304045155.5%
242Hyndburn Borough Council23817786333.0%
244Ipswich Borough Council551021805232.8%
83Isle of Wight Council616092953747.9%
270Islington LB582611754430.1%
175Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council644042597040.3%
81Kingston-upon-Hull City Council1102255290248.0%
288Kirklees MBC1617174348526.9%
290Knowsley MBC619621639126.5%
232Lambeth LB718332479534.5%
193Lancaster City Council513871978138.5%
219Leeds City Council MBC31712311420836.0%
213Leicester City Council1330164856336.5%
163Lewes District Council348071427841.0%
285Lewisham LB921942506827.2%
114Lichfield District Council432891956945.2%
239Lincoln City Council369811233233.3%
299Liverpool City Council1922474404222.9%
279Luton Borough Council787532254128.6%
49Maidstone Borough Council614713245452.8%
19Maldon District Council258591507658.3%
161Malvern Hills District Council269741114741.3%
182Manchester City Council MBC1684516680939.7%
254Mansfield District Council454661458732.1%
170Medway Borough Council1231234991140.5%
133Melton Borough Council21780947643.5%
151Merton LB712152991642.0%
45Mid Devon District Council292231568253.7%
165Mid Suffolk District Council754443092441.0%
140Mid Sussex District Council524512247442.8%
274Middlesbrough Borough Council644331916929.8%
52Milton Keynes Council1214386298451.9%
39Mole Valley District Council331511796654.2%
245New Forest District Council596751953432.7%
230Newark and Sherwood District Council476771648134.6%
90Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council472232244647.5%
210Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council MBC1106804060536.7%
296Newham LB1262133130024.8%
78North Devon District Council391381888148.2%
111North East Derbyshire District Council412051866845.3%
188North East Lincolnshire Council734622853438.8%
21North Hertfordshire District Council484352795357.7%
126North Kesteven District Council491362163944.0%
54North Lincolnshire Council856414427251.7%
146North Norfolk District Council455071923842.3%
110North Northamptonshire1586787198545.4%
12North Somerset Council982945848059.5%
229North Tyneside Council899553162135.2%
216North Warwickshire Borough Council280881020536.3%
98North West Leicestershire District Council430642005946.6%
183Norwich City Council471211866639.6%
295Nottingham City Council1174502970525.3%
190Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council513891983838.6%
147Oadby and Wigston Borough Council18843796542.3%
100Oldham MBC757603519346.5%
63Oxford City Council442152264551.2%
264Pendle Borough Council351451088931.0%
186Peterborough City Council860363346138.9%
231Plymouth City Council1078293724534.5%
287Portsmouth City Council728711971227.1%
250Preston City Council546811766732.3%
59Reading Borough Council563492899351.5%
267Redbridge LB1021103112430.5%
196Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council578662207738.2%
281Redditch Borough Council28279800828.3%
29Reigate and Banstead Borough Council559033105755.6%
200Ribble Valley Borough Council24999939237.6%
167Richmond upon Thames LB733772996640.8%
172Richmondshire District Council19330782240.5%
66Rochdale MBC741693752450.6%
9Rochford District Council352722112759.9%
243Rossendale Borough Council25717845432.9%
99Rother District Council401151864446.5%
115Rotherham MBC1078534857045.0%
298Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea472371090323.1%
80Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames603302902648.1%
135Rugby Borough Council420871819743.2%
70Runnymede Borough Council288671431349.6%
82Rushcliffe Borough Council481792310948.0%
207Rushmoor Borough Council334631232336.8%
60Rutland County Council202481041651.4%
104Ryedale District Council229571057046.0%
84Salford City Council MBC851684076847.9%
284Sandwell MBC1280003488727.3%
221Scarborough Borough Council458071645435.9%
240Sefton MBC1186023934033.2%
128Selby District Council414771815143.8%
189Sevenoaks District Council490571905438.8%
253Sheffield City Council1930786196432.1%
289Slough Borough Council527051405026.7%
227Solihull MBC911743210235.2%
26Somerset Waste Partnership26647314988056.2%
96South Derbyshire District Council440482059146.7%
10South Gloucestershire Council1225227335559.9%
97South Hams District Council319361490746.7%
262South Holland District Council376811175431.2%
179South Kesteven District Council561262229839.7%
116South Lakeland District Council453282039845.0%
137South Norfolk Council559142412143.1%
2South Oxfordshire District Council542283398662.7%
108South Ribble Borough Council432371967945.5%
109South Staffordshire Council443552017345.5%
249South Tyneside MBC668592164132.4%
283Southampton City Council894972477827.7%
138Southend-on-Sea Borough Council780283354643.0%
224Southwark LB1115743980935.7%
102Spelthorne Borough Council366051697046.4%
3St Albans City and District Council530463312762.4%
208St Helens MBC681042507136.8%
101Stafford Borough Council546822537846.4%
34Staffordshire Moorlands District Council401412188054.5%
180Stevenage Borough Council326151294139.7%
6Stockport MBC1042136285160.3%
293Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council880502259225.7%
233Stoke-on-Trent City Council1066853680034.5%
31Stratford-on-Avon District Council580403220655.5%
20Stroud District Council393912293358.2%
272Sunderland City Council1178163514629.8%
14Surrey Heath Borough Council319281890759.2%
124Sutton LB711523154944.3%
158Swale Borough Council582402430641.7%
212Swindon Borough Council954993490136.5%
51Tameside MBC751883957652.6%
197Tamworth Borough Council304361160138.1%
8Tandridge District Council338942031859.9%
28Teignbridge District Council513792856755.6%
73Telford and Wrekin Council898324413249.1%
173Tendring District Council528572137140.4%
194Test Valley Borough Council466201794138.5%
40Tewkesbury Borough Council373312018854.1%
234Thanet District Council528291817934.4%
1Three Rivers District Council338052145363.5%
278Thurrock Council712692045428.7%
119Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council475042131844.9%
203Torbay Council582742161137.1%
43Torridge District Council250261348153.9%
303Tower Hamlets LB882731740319.7%
18Trafford MBC807024746958.8%
85Tunbridge Wells Borough Council430792061347.8%
53Uttlesford District Council340741764551.8%
4Vale of White Horse District Council485893005361.9%
72Wakefield City MDC1617967955849.2%
238Walsall MBC1170723927933.6%
255Waltham Forest LB1008353227732.0%
300Wandsworth LB993662273522.9%
150Warrington Borough Council944633975342.1%
42Warwick District Council555243000854.0%
56Watford Borough Council323721672551.7%
17Waverley Borough Council471472778058.9%
76Wealden District Council632533090148.9%
67Welwyn Hatfield Council409162069650.6%
74West Berkshire District Council740193626349.0%
41West Devon Borough Council18268987954.1%
91West Lancashire Borough Council493022340747.5%
162West Lindsey District Council415151708241.1%
89West Northamptonshire1899879040747.6%
22West Oxfordshire District Council454122618457.7%
214West Suffolk Council706582576136.5%
302Westminster City Council732071532320.9%
47Wigan MBC1407917456453.0%
169Winchester City Council433781759740.6%
68Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council648583270850.4%
251Wirral MBC1276834125232.3%
58Woking Borough Council354951826651.5%
38Wokingham Council715683880754.2%
202Wolverhampton MBC1023783813737.3%
217Worcester City Council331881203536.3%
132Worthing Borough Council391951710143.6%
131Wychavon District Council512722237943.6%
106Wyre Borough Council440302011945.7%
237Wyre Forest District Council386651304233.7%
136York City Council831513590043.2%


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