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 2020/21 statistics on household waste sent for recycling, reuse and composting reveal that the rate for the Lancashire-12 area of 44.6% was just below the North West rate of 44.7%, and above the England rate of 42.3%. The Lancashire-12 percentage fell by -1.1 percentage points (pp) over the previous year, back to where it was in 2018/19

At the district/unitary level, recycling, reuse and composting rates varied between lows of just 27.5% in Blackpool to 48.1% in West Lancashire.

Seven of the authorities in the Lancashire-14 area saw improvements in their recycling rates over the past 12 months. In Rossendale the improvement of over 4 percentage points (pp) was the 7th highest in England. Conversely in Blackpool there was a huge reduction of -10.9 pp.

Collected household waste per person

Hyndburn had the 17th lowest figure in England for household waste generation per head at just 314.5 kg. The top six authorities were all London boroughs, the best being Camden at 186 kg. Blackburn with Darwen unitary authority featured in 10th place among the best councils in England for reduction of household waste per head, with a reduction from 352.3 kg in 2019/20 to 339.6kg in 2020/21 (-3.6%)

Waste sent to landfill

In 2020/21, 7.8% of 'local authority collected' waste for England was sent to landfill (down -0.7 percentage points from 8.5% in 2019/20). For the North West region, the rate was higher at 9.2%, unchanged from 2019/20.

The percentage of municipal waste that was sent to landfill in 2020/21 was 35.4% for the Lancashire-12 area, 39.5% for Blackpool and 0.7% for Blackburn with Darwen. The percentage for Blackburn with Darwen was 28th lowest out of 122 disposal/unitary authorities. Blackpool's figure was third highest and Lancashire-12 6th. The figure for Lancashire-12 was up from 35.2% in 2019/20.

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, but we have included the data points beginning in 2014/15 for the Lancashire-12 area, Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. 

Figure (a). Management of Local Authority Collected Waste 2000/01 to 2020/21


Source: Defra: ENV18 - Local authority collected waste: annual results tables
(LA_and_Regional_Spreadsheet_2021_rev, Table_2 & Table_2a)


A total of 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents were dealt with by local authorities in England in the year to March 2021, which represented a yearly increase of 15.8%. 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 27,887 reported incidents of fly-tipping during the year to March 2021.

Recycling specialists in Lancashire 

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

Page updated February 2022.