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 current recycling rate around 43% across the country, there's quite a way to go on a national level. But a few councils stand out for having the best recycling rates. In fact, two councils are already within 1 percentage point of the 65% target: Three Rivers District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, England households produced 33,883,128 tonnes of waste in 2019/20, 14,676,387 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

Three Rivers District Council has worked to climb the ranks, achieving the top spot out of 350 local authority areas for the first time, with a recycling rate hovering just shy of 65%. As a result they were awarded the trophy for the best council in England for recycling for 2019/20.

Three Rivers moved up to the #1 spot in 2019/20 from the #3 spot in 2018/20. The next best council for household recycling in 2019/20 is South Oxfordshire District Council with a household recycling rate of 64.0%, followed by East Riding of Yorkshire Council (previously #1) with a household recycling rate of 63.3%.

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 Rivers32,64020,92364.1%
2South Oxfordshire51,87433,17464.0%
3East Riding of Yorkshire170,747108,15463.3%
4Vale of White Horse45,89029,04563.3%
5St Albans50,38831,73063.0%
6Surrey Heath32,10920,21162.9%
7Derbyshire Dales27,45517,00761.9%
8Rochford32,17519,73161.3%
9North Somerset98,18359,48860.6%
10Stratford-on-Avon57,68834,91560.5%
11East Devon44,37826,85060.5%
12South Northamptonshire40,21624,07859.9%

Worst Recycling Rates in England

Barrow-in-Furness (North West) and Newham (London) have the worst household recycling rates in the country, a mere 18.7% and 20.3%, respectively. Overall, the 12 worst local authorities for recycling in England all recycle less than 25.3% 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
330Barking and Dagenham90,27322,74425.2%
331Bassetlaw44,42911,12425.0%
332Gosport24,0825,97924.8%
333Dartford37,3689,09424.3%
334Slough52,42312,60024.0%
335Wandsworth93,80522,22623.7%
336Birmingham City410,04196,92023.6%
337Liverpool City175,33441,43923.6%
338Tower Hamlets74,14315,96021.5%
339Westminster City88,61918,10420.4%
340Newham120,21124,40620.3%
341Barrow-in-Furness23,6434,43318.7%

FAQs

In England, local authority recycling rates range from 18.7% (Barrow-in-Furness) up to 64.1% (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 29.4% of household waste was recycled in 2019/20, ranking the area 309 out of 341 in England.
Recycling rates in Bristol are higher than average, with 47.1% of household waste recycled in 2019/20, ranking the area in the top third of the country for recycling (116 out of 341 in England).
Only 34.4% of household waste is recycled in London, making it the worst region in England. Click to learn more about London recycling rates.

Data

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.

Rank (1=best, 341=worst)CouncilTotal Household Waste (tonnes)Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse% of Household Waste Recycled
251Adur District Council20,5077,50436.6%
274Allerdale Borough Council37,21312,54533.7%
298Amber Valley Borough Council46,48114,56331.3%
179Arun District Council53,96823,12242.8%
246Ashfield District Council45,14116,74037.1%
49Ashford Borough Council42,08422,81154.2%
69Aylesbury Vale District Council63,29532,81451.8%
330Barking and Dagenham LB90,27322,74425.2%
288Barnet LB140,90445,15332.0%
117Barnsley MBC100,95647,55147.1%
341Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council23,6434,43318.7%
136Basildon District Council78,01035,85546.0%
301Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council60,69718,57430.6%
331Bassetlaw District Council44,42911,12425.0%
34Bath and North East Somerset Council73,74241,41556.2%
184Bedford73,04031,21242.7%
48Bexley LB94,64951,31354.2%
336Birmingham City Council410,04196,92023.6%
190Blaby District Council35,56315,05542.3%
312Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council52,85515,36829.1%
231Blackpool Borough Council64,29424,69138.4%
213Bolsover District Council32,89013,26240.3%
107Bolton MBC87,81642,03047.9%
245Boston Borough Council27,40410,18537.2%
52Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council173,74693,68253.9%
177Bracknell Forest Borough Council48,00720,58642.9%
207Bradford City MDC (MBC)195,02679,35240.7%
102Braintree District Council59,20928,62848.4%
229Breckland Council51,04619,77838.7%
269Brent LB95,23832,56234.2%
193Brentwood Borough Council27,96611,77242.1%
309Brighton and Hove Council101,88629,96929.4%
116Bristol City Council164,53977,51547.1%
87Broadland District Council49,63824,60949.6%
75Bromley LB123,34062,80450.9%
203Bromsgrove District Council39,80916,30841.0%
199Broxbourne Borough Council35,32814,67541.5%
247Broxtowe Borough Council42,17415,57736.9%
53Buckinghamshire County Council222,613119,95253.9%
287Burnley Borough Council28,9769,31932.2%
70Bury MBC60,91431,45851.6%
37Calderdale MBC80,96745,21855.8%
94Cambridge City and South Cambs Councils102,46950,47149.3%
39Cambridgeshire County Council292,885162,22155.4%
326Camden LB58,91915,28125.9%
161Cannock Chase Council38,62616,91343.8%
138Canterbury City Council53,76924,54845.7%
200Carlisle City Council42,49217,51141.2%
77Castle Point Borough Council31,28415,91350.9%
159Central Bedfordshire120,63552,90543.9%
163Charnwood Borough Council60,67926,51143.7%
135Chelmsford Borough Council67,86031,22246.0%
76Cheltenham Borough Council49,59625,23950.9%
41Cherwell District Council61,56533,93855.1%
27Cheshire East194,098109,69256.5%
31Cheshire West and Chester165,18193,08256.4%
170Chesterfield Borough Council40,43317,53743.4%
149Chichester District Council44,23019,87344.9%
126Chorley Borough Council43,59920,33846.6%
313City of London3,9581,14528.9%
21Colchester Borough Council55,79832,77158.7%
255Copeland Borough Council25,4719,19136.1%
167Corby and Kettering Shared Service68,13129,71343.6%
280Cornwall261,08586,85133.3%
14Cotswold District Council40,08123,78759.3%
230Council of the Isles of Scilly1,54359438.5%
201County Durham231,34195,26341.2%
277Coventry City Council128,11242,81633.4%
227Craven District Council20,8758,18739.2%
302Crawley Borough Council33,06510,00830.3%
95Croydon LB118,70158,41949.2%
113Cumbria County Council236,115111,93447.4%
64Dacorum Borough Council54,14028,59352.8%
205Darlington Borough Council43,66717,81240.8%
333Dartford Borough Council37,3689,09424.3%
58Daventry District Council32,95617,60653.4%
194Derby City Council110,39546,42142.0%
112Derbyshire County Council370,544175,86747.5%
7Derbyshire Dales District Council27,45517,00761.9%
26Devon County Council354,006200,38256.6%
131Doncaster MBC135,17862,68546.4%
17Dorset Council173,104102,01758.9%
118Dover District Council35,73116,81947.1%
237Dudley MBC122,02046,12737.8%
103Ealing LB83,52040,30948.3%
28East Cambridgeshire District Council31,90918,02756.5%
11East Devon District Council44,37826,85060.5%
267East Hampshire District Council37,03412,80434.6%
84East Hertfordshire District Council54,39927,26050.1%
206East Lindsey District Council53,71921,89840.8%
327East London Waste Authority412,017106,54825.9%
121East Northamptonshire Council29,91314,05747.0%
3East Riding of Yorkshire Council170,747108,15463.3%
168East Staffordshire Borough Council47,38020,64543.6%
146East Suffolk Council97,65544,18045.2%
180East Sussex County Council241,157103,31142.8%
295Eastbourne Borough Council34,34910,88931.7%
173Eastleigh Borough Council42,71518,40543.1%
169Eden District Council20,6798,99043.5%
66Elmbridge Borough Council53,36628,05052.6%
282Enfield LB118,12239,09933.1%
51Epping Forest Borough Council53,39828,90354.1%
56Epsom and Ewell Borough Council29,88415,97853.5%
208Erewash Borough Council47,02919,12640.7%
57Essex County Council655,447350,38153.5%
324Exeter City Council35,7409,32326.1%
278Fareham Borough Council35,07811,71933.4%
221Fenland District Council40,52316,20940.0%
156Folkestone and Hythe District Council36,95916,34744.2%
67Forest of Dean District Council33,22517,41852.4%
129Fylde Borough Council32,11814,90846.4%
290Gateshead MBC86,91127,79532.0%
283Gedling Borough Council44,28314,46932.7%
183Gloucester City Council45,45819,43342.7%
78Gloucestershire County Council284,854144,03750.6%
332Gosport Borough Council24,0825,97924.8%
186Gravesham Borough Council32,26513,72742.5%
303Great Yarmouth Borough Council37,85211,34630.0%
110Greater Manchester WDA (MBC)1,010,288482,25047.7%
281Greenwich LB102,48334,03833.2%
20Guildford Borough Council50,59229,73158.8%
316Hackney LB85,03624,05928.3%
239Halton Borough Council56,93521,33937.5%
73Hambleton District Council34,54117,63651.1%
328Hammersmith and Fulham LB45,59611,60725.5%
198Hampshire County Council605,818252,76341.7%
115Harborough District Council34,45716,28647.3%
306Haringey LB83,06424,66029.7%
202Harlow District Council26,89811,04241.1%
189Harrogate Borough Council52,84822,42442.4%
228Harrow LB90,26335,02038.8%
195Hart District Council32,22313,46041.8%
273Hartlepool Borough Council38,81813,21734.0%
305Hastings Borough Council30,0328,97929.9%
292Havant Borough Council41,00413,03031.8%
240Havering LB102,94838,56437.5%
197Herefordshire Council75,64931,59041.8%
68Hertfordshire County Council479,480250,79652.3%
154Hertsmere Borough Council37,62716,70144.4%
79High Peak Borough Council35,00317,66850.5%
243Hillingdon LB99,24137,07337.4%
158Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council44,20619,41843.9%
59Horsham District Council51,45127,43553.3%
297Hounslow LB87,35427,48731.5%
36Huntingdonshire District Council67,78937,94556.0%
268Hyndburn Borough Council22,7877,86434.5%
259Ipswich Borough Council52,56418,47035.1%
38Isle of Wight Council62,53334,73055.5%
307Islington LB54,78616,21229.6%
124Kent County Council668,559312,10446.7%
187Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council58,83825,03142.5%
104Kingston-upon-Hull City Council104,53150,30348.1%
320Kirklees MBC161,27643,02426.7%
300Knowsley MBC55,09616,91030.7%
294Lambeth LB76,79324,35931.7%
137Lancashire County Council537,389245,40045.7%
253Lancaster City Council47,45817,30836.5%
232Leeds City Council MBC303,308116,00638.2%
176Leicester City Council127,42954,68742.9%
141Leicestershire County Council308,738140,35345.5%
224Lewes District Council29,78711,78739.6%
321Lewisham LB98,05026,10626.6%
100Lichfield District Council41,75320,19948.4%
270Lincoln City Council35,42912,09534.1%
160Lincolnshire County Council349,410153,20443.8%
337Liverpool City Council175,33441,43923.6%
254Luton Borough Council75,19327,26436.3%
96Maidstone Borough Council57,66928,36649.2%
18Maldon District Council23,10013,60958.9%
223Malvern Hills District Council25,26510,04639.8%
210Manchester City Council MBC159,94364,67740.4%
276Mansfield District Council44,85715,08533.6%
134Medway Borough Council121,38455,88946.0%
151Melton Borough Council20,6439,22644.7%
244Merseyside WDA (MBC)685,421255,09737.2%
191Merton LB69,05629,17142.2%
60Mid Devon District Council28,02514,89353.1%
182Mid Suffolk District Council69,52129,72142.8%
174Mid Sussex District Council48,22320,70542.9%
296Middlesbrough Borough Council63,06219,96531.7%
32Milton Keynes Council119,55767,34956.3%
42Mole Valley District Council34,60118,95754.8%
272New Forest District Council57,80719,71034.1%
284Newark and Sherwood District Council45,66814,86132.5%
152Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council46,27420,59544.5%
217Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council MBC110,61244,51340.2%
340Newham LB120,21124,40620.3%
153Norfolk County Council391,205173,77244.4%
88North Devon District Council37,46318,56149.5%
119North East Derbyshire District Council40,46319,03247.0%
260North East Lincolnshire Council70,91624,91135.1%
24North Hertfordshire District Council45,89626,40857.5%
157North Kesteven District Council46,75320,62144.1%
47North Lincolnshire Council82,28644,61954.2%
311North London Waste Authority671,285195,35329.1%
204North Norfolk District Council42,86017,50640.8%
9North Somerset Council98,18359,48860.6%
249North Tyneside Council85,25731,46936.9%
106North Warwickshire Borough Council27,27113,07247.9%
132North West Leicestershire District Council41,55319,22546.3%
114North Yorkshire County Council288,711136,76547.4%
218Northampton Borough Council80,24732,26340.2%
108Northamptonshire County Council334,140159,85347.8%
256Northumberland152,63254,99136.0%
226Norwich City Council44,49417,54339.4%
323Nottingham City Council114,45930,04226.2%
178Nottinghamshire County Council381,631163,57442.9%
236Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council46,47517,64338.0%
155Oadby and Wigston Borough Council17,1997,62044.3%
192Oldham MBC71,87630,29842.2%
65Oxford City Council42,83622,54652.6%
19Oxfordshire County Council286,310168,43758.8%
285Pendle Borough Council32,89710,68532.5%
171Peterborough City Council83,88436,33943.3%
271Plymouth City Council102,92835,12334.1%
319Portsmouth City Council72,25219,30326.7%
299Preston City Council51,46516,05631.2%
257Reading Borough Council57,27420,22835.3%
329Redbridge LB105,27826,70125.4%
214Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council55,92022,52140.3%
314Redditch Borough Council26,3487,61028.9%
46Reigate and Banstead Borough Council52,76628,62954.3%
266Ribble Valley Borough Council24,0078,30534.6%
164Richmond upon Thames LB75,17232,81143.6%
233Richmondshire District Council18,5307,08638.2%
85Rochdale MBC68,69834,31149.9%
8Rochford District Council32,17519,73161.3%
304Rossendale Borough Council23,9587,17229.9%
140Rother District Council36,99516,84945.5%
142Rotherham MBC103,71147,07145.4%
315Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea51,97814,86828.6%
98Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames60,94029,62348.6%
144Rugby Borough Council39,75017,98945.3%
162Runnymede Borough Council27,33211,96043.8%
86Rushcliffe Borough Council46,62323,21949.8%
308Rushmoor Borough Council31,3429,26329.6%
29Rutland County Council20,20711,39156.4%
97Ryedale District Council21,48210,44448.6%
122Salford City Council MBC77,57336,44847.0%
263Sandwell MBC128,27844,66034.8%
211Scarborough Borough Council43,99217,78240.4%
275Sefton MBC110,57837,27233.7%
185Selby District Council37,72116,10742.7%
235Sevenoaks District Council45,37617,23638.0%
293Sheffield City Council186,42559,16031.7%
43Shropshire158,75186,75554.6%
334Slough Borough Council52,42312,60024.0%
250Solihull MBC92,01133,80936.7%
62Somerset Waste Partnership255,739135,21552.9%
80South Bucks District Council23,04711,63350.5%
145South Derbyshire District Council42,27119,12645.2%
16South Gloucestershire Council115,19068,06959.1%
45South Hams District Council32,51417,69254.4%
317South Holland District Council31,9668,98828.1%
215South Kesteven District Council54,30921,86640.3%
147South Lakeland District Council44,88620,21445.0%
188South Norfolk Council51,34521,83942.5%
12South Northamptonshire District Council40,21624,07859.9%
2South Oxfordshire District Council51,87433,17464.0%
133South Ribble Borough Council41,05918,96446.2%
74South Staffordshire Council44,42522,65751.0%
289South Tyneside MBC66,79121,37932.0%
310Southampton City Council86,99025,47129.3%
123Southend-on-Sea Borough Council76,47835,81446.8%
258Southwark LB110,80838,94035.1%
128Spelthorne Borough Council34,55816,06646.5%
5St Albans City and District Council50,38831,73063.0%
241St Helens MBC64,17824,02937.4%
82Stafford Borough Council55,01727,63150.2%
109Staffordshire County Council405,039193,44547.8%
30Staffordshire Moorlands District Council38,31221,59056.4%
225Stevenage Borough Council30,55812,05839.5%
22Stockport MBC99,69058,27758.5%
322Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council84,03622,26526.5%
264Stoke-on-Trent City Council103,54136,04334.8%
10Stratford-on-Avon District Council57,68834,91560.5%
13Stroud District Council36,08921,54259.7%
166Suffolk County Council346,312151,07543.6%
318Sunderland City Council113,61331,04127.3%
35Surrey County Council510,830286,13756.0%
6Surrey Heath Borough Council32,10920,21162.9%
99Sutton LB73,13635,44748.5%
209Swale Borough Council54,56922,12040.5%
181Swindon Borough Council87,32537,34942.8%
93Tameside MBC68,54033,81249.3%
212Tamworth Borough Council29,63111,96740.4%
15Tandridge District Council32,78119,38159.1%
33Teignbridge District Council48,98127,58256.3%
120Telford and Wrekin Council85,38640,12647.0%
261Tendring District Council43,93415,41835.1%
248Test Valley Borough Council42,44115,67136.9%
71Tewkesbury Borough Council34,86217,95051.5%
262Thanet District Council47,45116,52434.8%
1Three Rivers District Council32,64020,92364.1%
265Thurrock Council77,55226,95434.8%
130Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council49,64923,04346.4%
216Torbay Council58,85323,68840.2%
50Torridge District Council24,13713,07054.1%
338Tower Hamlets LB74,14315,96021.5%
25Trafford MBC78,50044,68556.9%
83Tunbridge Wells Borough Council42,67021,42650.2%
105Uttlesford District Council31,41815,06548.0%
4Vale of White Horse District Council45,89029,04563.3%
92Wakefield City MDC152,83875,41149.3%
219Walsall MBC111,47444,75340.1%
286Waltham Forest LB95,99430,99432.3%
335Wandsworth LB93,80522,22623.7%
111Warrington Borough Council88,69842,12547.5%
54Warwick District Council52,79728,40953.8%
72Warwickshire County Council255,224130,37951.1%
143Watford Borough Council31,99314,50545.3%
44Waverley Borough Council44,72924,34954.4%
89Wealden District Council59,15529,26249.5%
196Wellingborough Borough Council30,09912,57041.8%
127Welwyn Hatfield Council37,95717,67846.6%
91West Berkshire District Council74,59536,81849.4%
55West Devon Borough Council17,2879,28453.7%
125West Lancashire Borough Council44,41720,72646.7%
175West Lindsey District Council39,08016,77342.9%
242West London Waste Authority555,153207,49237.4%
23West Oxfordshire District Council43,38325,13657.9%
220West Suffolk Council67,07426,89040.1%
61West Sussex County Council378,270200,98753.1%
325Western Riverside Waste Authority281,02273,06926.0%
339Westminster City Council88,61918,10420.4%
63Wigan MBC132,74070,13252.8%
172Wiltshire215,17893,11743.3%
234Winchester City Council38,62114,69738.1%
148Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council64,49529,01545.0%
279Wirral MBC120,42640,07433.3%
40Woking Borough Council37,27020,64055.4%
81Wokingham Council70,34235,38050.3%
238Wolverhampton MBC103,60838,89037.5%
252Worcester City Council31,33711,45436.6%
165Worcestershire County Council272,641118,96943.6%
222Worthing Borough Council37,17114,85240.0%
150Wychavon District Council48,68421,79644.8%
90Wycombe District Council95,19547,05149.4%
139Wyre Borough Council41,73019,05045.7%
291Wyre Forest District Council35,93011,46131.9%
101York City Council81,07539,22048.4%

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