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 2017/18 statistics on household waste sent for recycling, reuse and composting reveal that the rate for the Lancashire-12 area of 42.1% was under the North West and England rates of 44.7% and 43.2% respectively. The Lancashire-12 percentage dropped by -3.5 percentage points (pp) over the previous year. This compares with a fall of -0.5 pp for England and a fall of -1.2 pp regionally over the year.

At the district/unitary level, recycling, reuse and composting rates varied between lows of just 29.8% in Preston and 30.8% in Ribble Valley to 47.5% in Fylde.

Only one of the authorities in the Lancashire-12 area saw improvements in their recycling rates over the past 12 months. This was Hyndburn at + 0.4 pp. All other authorities saw rates fall faster than the England average of -0.5 pp except Rossendale, while at -0.9 pp South Ribble had a fall less marked than the North West average of -1.2 pp.

Waste sent to landfill

Nationally and in the North West region, the amount of municipal waste sent to landfill has declined sharply during the 21st Century. In 2017/18, 12.5% of 'locally authority collected' waste for England was sent to landfill (down -3.2 pp from 2016/17). For the North West region, the rate was higher at 19.4% (and down -4.9 pp from 2016/17).

The percentage of municipal waste that was sent to landfill in 2017/18 was 49.5% for the Lancashire-12 area, which was similar to 2016/17.

Collected household waste per person

West Lancashire, Chorley and Hyndburn borough councils were in the best 20 councils in England for reduction of household waste per head. In 10th place, with a reduction per head from 412.9 kg in 2016/17 to 379.3 kg in 2017/18 (-8.1%), was West Lancashire. Chorley had a smaller decrease (-7.8%) to 368.5 kg per head for a mention at 15th place in England and Hyndburn (also -7.8%), in 16th place had a decrease to just 279 kg, which was also the ninth lowest quantity of household waste generated per head in England.

Energy from waste

The Microsoft Power BI slide below tracks the replacement of landfill as the main method of disposal by other methods: Recycling, composting and reuse; Incineration with Energy from Waste (EfW); and Incineration without Energy from Waste (EfW). This is for years beginning in 2000/01 and is for England and the North West Region only. This lengthy time-series is not available for local authority statistics. 

Figure (a). Management of Local Authority Collected Waste 2000/01 to 2017/18


Source: Defra: ENV18 - Local authority collected waste: annual results tables
(LA_and_Regional_Spreadsheet_201718_rev2.xlsx, Table_2a)

The latest published figures from Defra for amounts of municipal waste from the Lancashire-12 area sent for Energy from Waste give a misleading picture. The Lancashire disposal authority sends waste material as fuel but virtually no waste material goes just for incineration.


A total of just under one million fly-tipping incidents were dealt with by local authorities in England in the year to March 2018, which represented a yearly decrease of -0.5%. 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-12 area, there were 23,460 reported incidents of fly-tipping during the year to March 2018, a -0.5% decrease over the previous 12-month period. The latest results show that Pendle recorded the highest fly-tipping figure in the Lancashire-14 area with 5,244 incidents. In contrast South Ribble only had 425 incidents.

Recycling specialists in Lancashire 

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

Further analysis

Household waste recycling, municipal waste and fly-tipping (2017/18) (PDF 461 KB)

Page updated January 2019.