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English industrial sectors 'recycling more than half their waste'

Commercial and industrial sectors in England recycled more than half of their waste last year, according to Government figures out today.

The amount of rubbish recycled, composted or re-used went up to 52 per cent or 25 million tonnes, compared with 42 per cent in 2002/03.

A Defra survey found the total volume of commercial and industrial waste generated also fell by 29 per cent last year to 48 million tonnes from 67.9 million tonnes six years ago.

Just under a quarter was sent to landfill last year, which showed improvement since the last Commercial and Industrial Waste Arisings survey when two-fifths of waste was sent to landfill.

The results also found industrial waste had dropped by a third and commercial waste fell by a fifth since 2002/03.

The survey was carried out in eight English regions across a sample of industry and business sectors.

The report's executive summary said: "Commercial and industrial waste arisings in England have decreased by an estimated 19.9 million tonnes, from 67.9 million tonnes to 48 million tonnes between 2002/3 and 2009, a decrease of 29 per cent. This is despite a rise in the total business population of 10 per cent over the same period."

Commenting on the results, Environment Minister Lord Henley said: "Businesses across England have clearly been working hard to not only recycle more, but also reduce the waste they produce in the first place.

"As part of the waste review, we'll be using this type of information to look at how we can better support businesses to keep doing the right thing, and improve access to affordable recycling services."

The eight regions surveyed by Defra were the North East, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, the South East and the South West. A separate survey was carried out for the North West.

According to the report, the North West produced the most waste, generating 7.5 million tonnes, followed by Yorkshire and The Humber where almost 7 million tonnes of waste were generated.

Waste in the North East accounted for just 5 per cent of the total volume at 2.3 million tonnes while the South West, London and the East of England generated between 4 million and 5 million tonnes.

The South East and East Midlands produced just over 6 million tonnes and the West Midlands generated just over 5 million tonnes.

Julian Kirby, Friends of the Earth's resource use campaigner, said: "These results show that the industrial and commercial sectors have dramatically reduced waste and are recycling more.

"In fact many companies are forging ahead with their own plans to cut waste - but they need the Government's support to go further and faster.

"If the coalition is serious about creating a 'zero waste society' it must work alongside businesses and councils to develop better product design, share best practice on recycling, and stop building polluting and expensive incinerators that we don't even need."

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