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, one council has already hit the 65% target: East Riding of Yorkshire.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, England households produced 33,775,790 tonnes of waste in 2018/19, 14,518,694 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

East Riding of Yorkshire has worked to climb the ranks, achieving the top spot out of 350 local authority areas for the past three years running with a recycling rate hovering just shy of 65% and a nomination for prestigious National recycling awards including Team of the Year and Campaign of the Year.

Not only do they reuse or compost the largest percentage of waste in England, but East Riding is the only council in all of Yorkshire and Humber to crack the top 35 spots; the next closest Yorkshire and Humber council is North Lincolnshire at spot 37 with a 56% recycling rate (hats off to North Lincolnshire for moving from spot 110 in 2016-17 with a 48% recycling rate!).

Chart showing which areas in England have the best recycling rates

South Oxfordshire, Three Rivers, Vale of White Horse, St Albans, Surrey Heath, Rochford, Stroud, Stratford-on-Avon, Dorset Waste Partnership, Derbyshire Dales and South Northamptonshire round out the top 12, all with recycling rates of at least 60%.

Rank of English Councils with Best Recycling RatesTotal Household Waste (tonnes)Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse% of Household Waste Recycled
1East Riding of Yorkshire168,664109,31465%
2South Oxfordshire50,22631,77363%
3Three Rivers32,53020,48363%
4Vale of White Horse44,26527,67263%
5St Albans50,71431,48262%
6Surrey Heath29,92318,52362%
7Rochford33,56620,42761%
8Stroud34,73120,91160%
9Stratford-on-Avon55,90533,33960%
10Dorset Waste Partnership196,709117,29960%
11Derbyshire Dales27,18316,20360%
12South Northamptonshire38,99223,23660%

Worst Recycling Rates in England

Newham (London) and Barrow-in-Furness (North West) have the worst recycling rates in the country, a mere 19% and 17%, respectively. Overall, the 12 worst local authorities for recycling in England all recycle less than 25% of household waste—these councils recycle at less than half the rate of the best 12 councils.

Chart showing which areas in England have the worst recycling rates

In fact, 6 of the 12 worst councils in England for recycling fall within London. Overall, London only recycles 32.7% of household waste.

Rank of English Councils with Worst Recycling RatesTotal Household Waste (tonnes)Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse% of Household Waste Recycled
334Kirklees158,33438,44324%
335Gosport23,8775,67524%
336Hammersmith and Fulham47,07511,18424%
337Barking and Dagenham86,07220,39124%
338Liverpool City170,23540,23824%
339Slough Borough53,03712,35823%
340Tower Hamlets73,91717,17623%
341Wandsworth94,84021,99923%
342Birmingham City412,13090,70822%
343Westminster City91,07619,77922%
344Barrow-in-Furness24,3944,72119%
345Newham120,30920,37417%

FAQs

In England, local authority recycling rates range from 17% (Newham) up to 65% (East Riding of Yorkshire). 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% of household waste was recycled in 2018/19, ranking the area 315 out of 345 in England.
Recycling rates in Brighton and Hove are higher than average, with 47% of household waste recycled in 2018/19, ranking the area in the top third of the country for recycling (109 out of 345 in England).
Only 33% 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, 345=worst)CouncilTotal Household Waste (tonnes)Tonnes sent for recycling, compost, reuse% of Household Waste Recycled
257Adur District Council21,1537,59835.9%
282Allerdale Borough Council41,18713,74333.4%
283Amber Valley Borough Council45,82615,08732.9%
194Arun District Council55,59323,06541.5%
259Ashfield District Council45,93916,41035.7%
53Ashford Borough Council41,72922,26653.4%
75Aylesbury Vale District Council61,07631,23951.1%
337Barking and Dagenham LB86,07220,39123.7%
270Barnet LB140,31648,57834.6%
121Barnsley MBC99,46846,26146.5%
344Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council24,3944,72119.4%
114Basildon District Council77,36036,48147.2%
317Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council58,43516,56028.3%
330Bassetlaw District Council43,15510,99225.5%
19Bath and North East Somerset Council71,73842,07558.7%
170Bedford72,36931,01342.9%
46Bexley LB99,51653,86554.1%
342Birmingham City Council412,13090,70822.0%
187Blaby District Council34,91214,65742.0%
316Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council55,21415,76128.5%
216Blackpool Borough Council62,78924,85239.6%
206Bolsover District Council32,93913,27640.3%
101Bolton MBC86,77641,67748.0%
277Boston Borough Council27,4479,19733.5%
65Bournemouth Borough Council76,37639,57951.8%
218Bracknell Forest Borough Council47,63018,76539.4%
217Bradford City MDC (MBC)194,90077,04039.5%
107Braintree District Council59,86228,51847.6%
243Breckland Council50,94619,07537.4%
248Brent LB94,32634,54836.6%
141Brentwood Borough Council27,14212,07844.5%
312Brighton and Hove Council102,88530,03029.2%
109Bristol City Council165,99078,73647.4%
99Broadland District Council49,23323,75148.2%
81Bromley LB119,92660,07350.1%
184Bromsgrove District Council38,77316,31842.1%
188Broxbourne Borough Council35,23214,78542.0%
232Broxtowe Borough Council40,93915,70638.4%
32Buckinghamshire County Council242,399135,91356.1%
290Burnley Borough Council28,6619,30432.5%
60Bury MBC61,02531,75652.0%
86Calderdale MBC81,70240,50449.6%
85Cambridge City and South Cambs Councils103,62651,57549.8%
40Cambridgeshire County Council296,525163,88355.3%
299Camden LB56,80717,65231.1%
151Cannock Chase Council38,07916,72943.9%
124Canterbury City Council54,41225,18746.3%
197Carlisle City Council42,28617,46041.3%
91Castle Point Borough Council32,31015,82449.0%
144Central Bedfordshire118,82252,57144.2%
136Charnwood Borough Council60,25127,05444.9%
98Chelmsford Borough Council68,54933,08348.3%
80Cheltenham Borough Council49,40525,05850.7%
45Cherwell District Council60,50832,79954.2%
64Cheshire East177,87092,19451.8%
16Cheshire West and Chester162,32895,72659.0%
148Chesterfield Borough Council38,33416,89144.1%
122Chichester District Council42,51219,74846.5%
164Chorley Borough Council42,69418,49543.3%
307City of London3,8181,14029.9%
20Colchester Borough Council54,81732,13958.6%
246Copeland Borough Council25,4229,33136.7%
150Corby Borough Council26,76211,77844.0%
234Cornwall263,354100,42938.1%
17Cotswold District Council39,70323,40458.9%
321Council of the Isles of Scilly1,63044427.2%
180County Durham225,84295,49342.3%
274Coventry City Council126,77743,28734.1%
239Craven District Council21,3728,06737.7%
303Crawley Borough Council33,18410,09730.4%
111Croydon LB127,94660,56647.3%
119Cumbria County Council238,996111,54746.7%
58Dacorum Borough Council54,47928,46952.3%
214Darlington Borough Council43,19417,19639.8%
327Dartford Borough Council37,0819,60225.9%
79Daventry District Council30,67615,56250.7%
228Derby City Council104,96340,74338.8%
102Derbyshire County Council364,963175,22148.0%
11Derbyshire Dales District Council27,18316,20359.6%
35Devon County Council355,195198,76856.0%
123Doncaster MBC134,84862,54446.4%
10Dorset Waste Partnership196,709117,29959.6%
118Dover District Council35,12516,50647.0%
261Dudley MBC122,92943,40935.3%
56Ealing LB81,36942,77852.6%
39East Cambridgeshire District Council31,31417,33955.4%
14East Devon District Council43,25425,57559.1%
272East Hampshire District Council36,74612,61934.3%
88East Hertfordshire District Council54,76827,06449.4%
227East Lindsey District Council53,07820,63838.9%
333East London Waste Authority412,069102,24524.8%
126East Northamptonshire Council29,42113,49745.9%
1East Riding of Yorkshire Council168,664109,31464.8%
158East Staffordshire Borough Council45,96220,03043.6%
165East Sussex County Council247,581107,10843.3%
263Eastbourne Borough Council34,61412,18735.2%
193Eastleigh Borough Council41,78517,41541.7%
178Eden District Council21,0628,92642.4%
76Elmbridge Borough Council52,93126,98751.0%
281Enfield LB118,44939,56233.4%
30Epping Forest Borough Council52,14229,36656.3%
42Epsom and Ewell Borough Council29,14416,00954.9%
190Erewash Borough Council44,19018,50941.9%
61Essex County Council680,775354,14852.0%
323Exeter City Council35,8369,71327.1%
276Fareham Borough Council35,26211,88333.7%
224Fenland District Council39,40715,42639.1%
103Folkestone and Hythe District Council36,61917,57848.0%
269Forest Heath District Council24,6298,53034.6%
48Forest of Dean District Council32,52417,50753.8%
138Fylde Borough Council31,12313,92444.7%
293Gateshead MBC86,96027,48631.6%
273Gedling Borough Council42,47814,52834.2%
172Gloucester City Council45,49119,48542.8%
59Gloucestershire County Council285,951149,01852.1%
335Gosport Borough Council23,8775,67523.8%
181Gravesham Borough Council32,18313,59342.2%
313Great Yarmouth Borough Council38,11511,07129.0%
104Greater Manchester WDA (MBC)996,905477,29347.9%
280Greenwich LB107,05235,76533.4%
26Guildford Borough Council49,51528,57257.7%
319Hackney LB83,65823,36427.9%
226Halton Borough Council56,82022,10838.9%
96Hambleton District Council33,69816,31348.4%
336Hammersmith and Fulham LB47,07511,18423.8%
196Hampshire County Council607,359250,97341.3%
127Harborough District Council34,05115,57445.7%
310Haringey LB81,40223,83929.3%
169Harlow District Council26,57211,41343.0%
203Harrogate Borough Council52,89121,55540.8%
207Harrow LB89,64036,05640.2%
192Hart District Council32,14913,43341.8%
288Hartlepool Borough Council39,76612,92232.5%
309Hastings Borough Council30,9569,12829.5%
302Havant Borough Council39,85012,23230.7%
244Havering LB102,20438,25637.4%
198Herefordshire Council75,85731,31941.3%
67Hertfordshire County Council483,073249,80651.7%
143Hertsmere Borough Council37,43416,57744.3%
93High Peak Borough Council34,43216,77948.7%
247Hillingdon LB99,80236,58336.7%
182Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council42,66518,01042.2%
51Horsham District Council50,45526,98853.5%
297Hounslow LB85,93026,95531.4%
43Huntingdonshire District Council66,26736,21454.6%
275Hyndburn Borough Council21,7897,37533.8%
245Ipswich Borough Council53,62319,91637.1%
36Isle of Wight Council58,62732,66455.7%
314Islington LB55,53916,10429.0%
113Kent County Council676,053319,09947.2%
95Kettering Borough Council39,79119,31248.5%
183Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council59,09524,89542.1%
100Kingston-upon-Hull City Council105,30850,63748.1%
334Kirklees MBC158,33438,44324.3%
305Knowsley MBC54,51216,44830.2%
306Lambeth LB80,96624,40030.1%
139Lancashire County Council536,973239,54944.6%
254Lancaster City Council45,76116,47436.0%
229Leeds City Council MBC296,179114,64538.7%
221Leicester City Council126,58749,66739.2%
132Leicestershire County Council304,843138,01745.3%
215Lewes District Council28,56711,33439.7%
318Lewisham LB96,77527,10828.0%
134Lichfield District Council40,69818,33245.0%
279Lincoln City Council35,31411,81833.5%
189Lincolnshire County Council344,386144,41641.9%
338Liverpool City Council170,23540,23823.6%
268Luton Borough Council78,35827,26434.8%
69Maidstone Borough Council58,39930,02051.4%
13Maldon District Council23,03913,68459.4%
205Malvern Hills District Council23,8949,66840.5%
209Manchester City Council MBC155,61962,33940.1%
286Mansfield District Council42,88214,09532.9%
171Medway Borough Council124,92653,51342.8%
149Melton Borough Council20,1988,89544.0%
237Merseyside WDA (MBC)664,049251,23137.8%
230Merton LB70,25827,05238.5%
52Mid Devon District Council28,14615,04953.5%
179Mid Suffolk District Council68,77829,12842.4%
177Mid Sussex District Council47,05719,97142.4%
278Middlesbrough Borough Council61,86420,71833.5%
15Milton Keynes Council117,27269,30759.1%
54Mole Valley District Council33,06917,48552.9%
284New Forest District Council57,39418,88432.9%
285Newark and Sherwood District Council45,18314,86432.9%
117Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council47,26822,24447.1%
236Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council MBC108,59341,12937.9%
345Newham LB120,30920,37416.9%
161Norfolk County Council386,201167,77043.4%
128North Devon District Council36,49716,65345.6%
112North East Derbyshire District Council40,07018,91747.2%
267North East Lincolnshire Council69,70324,37135.0%
29North Hertfordshire District Council46,24126,25856.8%
174North Kesteven District Council46,75819,97842.7%
37North Lincolnshire Council84,21146,78455.6%
308North London Waste Authority674,705199,84029.6%
219North Norfolk District Council41,82516,44539.3%
18North Somerset Council99,23158,26858.7%
271North Tyneside Council85,86129,49834.4%
129North Warwickshire Borough Council26,61212,13745.6%
135North West Leicestershire District Council41,45718,66645.0%
157North Yorkshire County Council290,688126,76643.6%
220Northampton Borough Council82,21932,31639.3%
106Northamptonshire County Council337,692161,11947.7%
256Northumberland152,02854,62135.9%
233Norwich City Council43,52916,65638.3%
325Nottingham City Council113,49830,12826.5%
166Nottinghamshire County Council374,830161,84843.2%
160Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council48,07020,88543.4%
162Oadby and Wigston Borough Council16,0506,95843.4%
210Oldham MBC71,05728,40740.0%
63Oxford City Council42,73422,16551.9%
22Oxfordshire County Council281,935164,10758.2%
298Pendle Borough Council32,47810,16431.3%
168Peterborough City Council82,23035,47843.1%
262Plymouth City Council105,86437,31835.3%
66Poole Borough Council66,51034,41551.7%
329Portsmouth City Council73,44618,73025.5%
296Preston City Council51,09316,09531.5%
291Reading Borough Council57,72718,44331.9%
331Redbridge LB106,12826,40424.9%
231Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council56,74721,83738.5%
304Redditch Borough Council27,1358,22030.3%
49Reigate and Banstead Borough Council51,85427,87453.8%
292Ribble Valley Borough Council22,8697,24431.7%
176Richmond upon Thames LB75,10031,91042.5%
223Richmondshire District Council18,0287,06539.2%
94Rochdale MBC67,90032,98148.6%
7Rochford District Council33,56620,42760.9%
295Rossendale Borough Council23,6047,44631.5%
110Rother District Council35,94617,03947.4%
140Rotherham MBC110,29649,16344.6%
324Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea52,81714,23927.0%
89Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames61,21930,24949.4%
147Rugby Borough Council40,66817,95944.2%
186Runnymede Borough Council26,52311,14542.0%
92Rushcliffe Borough Council44,37321,64748.8%
315Rushmoor Borough Council31,3099,07529.0%
34Rutland County Council19,72311,03856.0%
125Ryedale District Council21,4759,91046.1%
120Salford City Council MBC79,34836,94346.6%
258Sandwell MBC129,01946,23635.8%
253Scarborough Borough Council43,79415,81836.1%
266Sefton MBC108,56437,97135.0%
199Selby District Council36,06614,86541.2%
242Sevenoaks District Council44,44116,66837.5%
300Sheffield City Council185,48757,43431.0%
38Shropshire157,97087,66555.5%
339Slough Borough Council53,03712,35823.3%
238Solihull MBC89,84633,92437.8%
57Somerset Waste Partnership252,991132,58452.4%
70South Bucks District Council22,80611,71951.4%
154South Derbyshire District Council40,48217,74943.8%
25South Gloucestershire Council113,34865,48157.8%
47South Hams District Council33,43818,03253.9%
328South Holland District Council31,1398,06125.9%
222South Kesteven District Council53,19920,86039.2%
145South Lakeland District Council44,83319,82944.2%
195South Norfolk Council50,76220,98841.3%
12South Northamptonshire District Council38,99223,23659.6%
2South Oxfordshire District Council50,22631,77363.3%
173South Ribble Borough Council40,47117,29942.7%
83South Staffordshire Council43,66221,86050.1%
301South Tyneside MBC65,70320,19930.7%
311Southampton City Council88,74625,96329.3%
97Southend-on-Sea Borough Council74,90136,15248.3%
264Southwark LB110,43138,83935.2%
152Spelthorne Borough Council33,40514,67243.9%
5St Albans City and District Council50,71431,48262.1%
201St Edmundsbury Borough Council42,83017,63441.2%
260St Helens MBC64,42622,79635.4%
84Stafford Borough Council53,67926,76649.9%
108Staffordshire County Council398,854189,35747.5%
33Staffordshire Moorlands District Council39,01721,84556.0%
211Stevenage Borough Council30,87112,34040.0%
21Stockport MBC97,92057,11458.3%
326Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council82,50221,79826.4%
250Stoke-on-Trent City Council103,62137,66436.3%
9Stratford-on-Avon District Council55,90533,33959.6%
8Stroud District Council34,73120,91160.2%
82Suffolk Coastal District Council48,35924,22050.1%
116Suffolk County Council344,827162,28047.1%
322Sunderland City Council113,00430,67227.1%
41Surrey County Council507,428280,44455.3%
6Surrey Heath Borough Council29,92318,52361.9%
90Sutton LB72,60435,62549.1%
175Swale Borough Council53,74322,95342.7%
185Swindon Borough Council88,31037,14342.1%
77Tameside MBC66,70533,96250.9%
212Tamworth Borough Council28,30711,27039.8%
23Tandridge District Council32,30718,76858.1%
31Teignbridge District Council47,96427,00356.3%
137Telford and Wrekin Council83,88437,58544.8%
320Tendring District Council49,24313,45827.3%
255Test Valley Borough Council41,89015,07936.0%
55Tewkesbury Borough Council33,92617,84152.6%
251Thanet District Council46,16016,76736.3%
3Three Rivers District Council32,53020,48363.0%
265Thurrock Council76,76926,87335.0%
191Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council50,83421,28841.9%
200Torbay Council58,30924,00841.2%
73Torridge District Council24,67112,65051.3%
340Tower Hamlets LB73,91717,17623.2%
27Trafford MBC75,90143,48157.3%
105Tunbridge Wells Borough Council42,84320,47647.8%
115Uttlesford District Council32,82715,45847.1%
4Vale of White Horse District Council44,26527,67262.5%
131Wakefield City MDC149,00267,59445.4%
213Walsall MBC107,00542,60039.8%
294Waltham Forest LB97,28430,72731.6%
341Wandsworth LB94,84021,99923.2%
146Warrington Borough Council86,85238,37644.2%
50Warwick District Council50,91627,35453.7%
71Warwickshire County Council253,346130,14551.4%
133Watford Borough Council32,03514,45745.1%
225Waveney District Council47,89718,73739.1%
44Waverley Borough Council44,64424,35654.6%
78Wealden District Council59,92430,45050.8%
208Wellingborough Borough Council30,33812,20140.2%
130Welwyn Hatfield Council38,54717,51045.4%
87West Berkshire District Council74,82337,02149.5%
74West Devon Borough Council17,2608,84851.3%
156West Lancashire Borough Council42,87218,76243.8%
202West Lindsey District Council38,61715,85241.0%
241West London Waste Authority563,327211,54237.6%
24West Oxfordshire District Council41,56324,01257.8%
62West Sussex County Council389,316202,21151.9%
332Western Riverside Waste Authority288,83971,79624.9%
343Westminster City Council91,07619,77921.7%
68Wigan MBC131,09867,53251.5%
153Wiltshire213,22093,53343.9%
252Winchester City Council37,72013,62736.1%
142Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council65,18628,90844.3%
289Wirral MBC118,21238,39332.5%
28Woking Borough Council35,76020,44357.2%
204Wokingham Council68,93427,89640.5%
235Wolverhampton MBC106,30540,50538.1%
249Worcester City Council31,95311,69736.6%
163Worcestershire County Council272,537118,06443.3%
240Worthing Borough Council38,86014,61837.6%
155Wychavon District Council46,98020,58943.8%
72Wycombe District Council98,00150,33251.4%
167Wyre Borough Council41,28617,82443.2%
287Wyre Forest District Council35,69611,62232.6%
159York City Council88,23538,45043.6%

Comments