Since 2000, Somerset’s recycling rate has steadily increased and total household waste has fallen, as shown in the chart below, in spite of a growing population and more households.

The main factors behind these improvements in waste reduction and recycling are increased support for recycling from residents, better facilities at recycling centres and the roll-out of Sort It and Sort It Plus kerbside collections with weekly food waste and recycling and fortnightly refuse. In 2011/12, changes in service arrangements at recycling centres were also a factor. This led to less waste being taken to recycling centres and collected overall by our services, but total waste has increased again over the last two years and there may be a return to the previous trend. Waste reduced following the downturn in the economy since the end of 2008. Throughout the whole period, there have been increasing efforts to prevent waste and less business waste entering SWP household services.

Performance reports and service data

Detailed performance reports are presented in papers to Somerset Waste Board. An annual performance report is usually presented in June each year and a half-year report in December. These include materials recycled, energy recovered from waste, residual waste for disposal, number and types of fly-tips, press coverage and website statistics, together with comparisons to data from previous years.

Waste composition

The most recent report on Somerset’s waste composition and changes in arisings was produced in November 2012.

National waste statistics

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) publish national data and statistics on waste and recycling.