Bristol racing ahead in recycling rates

We are a leading city for recycling according to data released from the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).


Highlights include:

  • Bristol ranks No.1 in England for recycling among core cities

  • Recycling rates increased by 1.5%

  • Significant drop in residual waste produced, falling by 36kg per household per year

  • Waste sent to landfill down by 8%


Bristol is a leading city for recycling according to data released from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The city ranks number one out of the eight English core cities with an increased recycling rate of 44.9% for 2017/18.

The newly released stats, which show a further 1.5% increase in recycling since 2016/17, reaffirm Bristol’s environmental credentials. And they look set to continue to rise, with 46% of household waste being sent for recycling by Bristol Waste Company in November.

By comparison, the other core cities are Birmingham, 20.7%, Leeds, 38.4%, Liverpool, 26.6%, Manchester, 38.6%, Newcastle, 38%, Nottingham, 29.9%, Sheffield, 30.7%.

In the week that the UK government released its Waste and Resource Strategy, the new data demonstrates that Bristol is well ahead of the game in terms of recycling with rates increasing rapidly and general waste tonnages going down.

The city has also seen a significant drop in the volume of residual waste each household produces, falling by 36kg per household per year to 462kg, meaning we are creating less waste as a city. This also looks on track to drop even further next year.

The figures also show a significant drop in the amount of waste sent to landfill, which fell to by a whopping 8%, from 27.9% to 19.9%. This also continues to drop with last month’s waste to landfill down to just 12.5%.

This city has taken recycling to heart, and seeing our rates continue to rise is incredibly encouraging. - Tony Lawless, Managing Director at Bristol Waste

Tony Lawless, Managing Director, Bristol Waste said: “We are delighted to see Bristol is on track to meet its ambitious recycling rate of 50% by 2020. This city has taken recycling to heart, and seeing our rates continue to rise is incredibly encouraging.

“We work hard to raise awareness of waste issues and help residents understand the small steps they can make to save resources, save the city money, and ultimately save the planet. We know there is still a journey to go on and that we cannot do it alone, but by working with the residents - who have literally done tonnes to help already - we can help Bristol waste nothing.

“As a city we have a reputation for being clean, green and proud of where we live, and at Bristol Waste we are committed to supporting this city do even more; through campaigns like Slim My Waste, education and awareness raising, as well as investing in a new fleet and trialling new ways of collecting recycling to help increase our rates further.”

Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for waste and recycling, said: “Bristol already has a reputation for being a green city, and it is fantastic to see that we are building on that even further – with recycling rates continuing to rise. We are currently ranked number one out of the English core cities in terms of recycling, and I would like to thank the people of Bristol for supporting us towards reaching our ambitious targets.

“Award winning initiatives such as the ‘Slim my Waste’ campaign have captured the public’s imagination, and helped us engage with people across the city - this led to a direct increase in food waste being recycled.

“Even though this is good news for the city, we cannot become complacent, as there is still a lot to do. I hope that everyone in the city makes it one of their New Year’s resolutions to help us increase recycling rates further still and commit to reusing items wherever possible.”

Bristol Waste’s award winning food waste campaign ‘Slim My Waste – Feed My Face’ has seen a 16% increase in the amount of food waste collected since it launched in June this year. That’s more than 700 tonnes of additional food waste collected to date; equivalent to 56 double-decker buses!

When food waste composts naturally it generates CO2 which is bad for the environment. The additional waste diverted to date thanks to Slim My Waste is equal to 669 tonnes of CO2e savings. That’s the same as taking 142 cars off the road for a year. Plus, the additional biogas created in a year will power an extra 180 households for a whole year.

Full information on recycling rates, as published by DEFRA can be found here:


For media enquiries, contact Emma Russell, Head of Marketing and Communications, Bristol Waste Company on