Carbon footprints growing despite more recycling

Britons are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, recycling more than ever, but their carbon footprints are growing, official figures have revealed. 

New data from the Office for National Statistics showed UK waste recycling levels are continuing to rise, but air travel has increased substantially.

Recycling levels increased across all regions between 2002-6, with households in the east of England recording the highest figure of 34 per cent, almost double its recycling rate of four years previously.

The East Midlands came a close second in the green stakes, recycling 32 per cent of its waste, but London and the North East recycled the lowest proportion, at just 21 per cent.

The amount of household waste produced over the last four years has remained broadly the same.

London was found to produce the least waste per household at 21kg per week between 2005-6, due to the number of people living alone.

By contrast, households in Northern Ireland generated the most waste at 26kg due to the larger-than-average household sizes.

People in London walked and cycled the furthest in 2005-6, with an average distance travelled of 230 miles and 50 miles respectively.

Cycling in the capital has rocketed by 43 per cent since 2003-4, but decreased 21 per cent in the West Midlands.

The number of licensed cars in the UK grew steadily between 1996 and 2006 to just under 28million.

The North East and the East Midlands posted the largest increases with 30 per cent compared to just 9 per cent in London.

Image: Londoners are increasingly getting on their bikes, but the capital's recycling performance is less stellar

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