Household recycling, municipal waste and fly-tipping


The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) publishes waste and recycling statistics. Please note that the definition of 'household waste' sent for recycling, which is produced for each financial year and analysed in this report, differs from the narrower 'waste from households' sent for recycling definition, which was introduced by Defra in 2014. Statistics relating to the narrower definition are produced by calendar year.

Household waste sent for recycling, reuse or composting

The 2016/17 household waste sent for recycling, reuse and composting figures reveal that the rate for the Lancashire-12 area of 45.6% was under the North West rate of 45.9% but above the England average of 43.7%. The Lancashire-12 percentage dropped by -6 percentage points over the previous year. This compares with a rise of 0.7 percentage points  for England and a fall of 0.6 percentage points regionally over the year.

At the district/unitary level, recycling, reuse and composting rates varied between lows of just 31.4% in Preston and 32.9% in Hyndburn to 50.5% in Fylde.

Only four of the authorities in the Lancashire-14 area saw improvements in their recycling rates over the past 12 months. In three of these, Burnley, Hyndburn and Blackburn with Darwen, the rise was modest. It was only in Rossendale that the rise, 0.8 percentage points, exceeded the national improvement, 0.7 percentage points.

Recycling rates fell in the other ten authorities. Of these Blackpool (-11.6 percentage points), Preston (-6.7 percentage points), Wyre (-6.5 percentage points) and Lancaster (-5.6 percentage points) saw steep falls.

Waste sent to landfill

With it becoming more and more expensive to send waste to landfill, it is vitally important to minimise the percentage that has to be disposed of via this method. For 2016/17, the rate was 15.9% of municipal waste collected in England that was sent to landfill (down -3.9 percentage points from 19.8% in 2015/16). For the North West region, the rate was higher at 25.0% (and up 0.8 percentage points from 24.2% in 2015/16).

The percentage of municipal waste that was sent to landfill in 2016/17 was 51.4% for the Lancashire-12 area, 58.2% for Blackpool and 22.8% for Blackburn with Darwen. The percentage sent to landfill for the Lancashire-12 area had risen by 20.5 percentage points from 30.9% in 2015/16. The rate had also risen sharply in Blackpool by 41.3 percentage points. Within Blackburn with Darwen, the percentage of municipal waste sent to landfill has fallen substantially by 44.3 percentage points from the 67.1% seen in 2014/15.


A total of just over one million fly-tipping incidents were dealt with by local authorities in England in the year to March 2017, which represented a yearly increase of 7.1%. The results for Lancashire authorities reveal quite a volatile pattern with some very large increases and decreases from one year to the next. For the Lancashire-14 area, there were 32,826 reported incidents of fly-tipping during the year to March 2017, a 7.0% increase over the previous 12-month period. The latest results show that Pendle recorded the highest fly-tipping figure in the Lancashire-14 area with 5,704 incidents. In contrast South Ribble had just over 500 incidents.

Recycling specialists in Lancashire 

A selection of recycling specialists is included in the full report.

Further analysis

Household waste recycling and municipal waste plus fly-tipping, 2016/17 (PDF 331 KB)

Page updated February 2018.