RECYCLING rates have “plateaued” in most of the county’s districts, a councillor has said, despite figures showing a 70 per cent drop in the amount of waste sent to landfill over more than 10 years.

Councillor John Raine, who represents Malvern Trinity Division on Worcestershire County Council (WCC), said the drastic drop in landfill usage is “relatively good news, but we need to set the improvement in context”.

WCC has put the reduction largely down to the opening of its energy through waste plant EnviRecover in March, as well as its Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy (JMWMS) launched in 2004.

The JMWMS will run until 2034, across the six Worcestershire borough, city and district councils, as well as WCC and Herefordshire Council.

The plant treats up to 200,000 tonnes of waste, exporting 15.5 MW of electricity to the grid, complementing other facilities such as EnviroSort in Norton.

WCC say its carbon footprint has dropped by nine per cent in the past year, while the amount of waste recycled has increased by more than 60 per cent since 2004.

Cllr Raine, of the Green Party, said: “We need to set the improvement in context.

“Comparing with the position in 2004 of course means comparing with a time when almost all waste went to landfill because local authorities were doing very little by way of collecting recyclable waste.

“Now we have more advanced collection arrangements as well as the EnviroSort facility provided by the county council and now the incinerator/energy from waste plant.

He said: “The statistics of recent years show that performance in recycling rates have rather plateaued in most of Worcestershire’s six districts, and all still perform significantly less well than the best recycling councils in other counties and particularly in Wales, a key reason being that we don’t do food waste recycling.”

Cllr Tony Miller, cabinet member for the environment, said: Cllr Tony Miller, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for the Environment, said: "WCC is committed to ensuring a more sustainable future for this county and its residents.

"In terms of dry recycling, e.g. paper, aluminium cans, glass bottles, Worcestershire has the best performing Waste Collection Authorities in the West Midlands and some of the best in the country.

"Meanwhile, our latest effort to encourage residents to save time and money, whilst continuing to meet our JMWMS objectives with regards to prevention of waste, is the Rewarding Redditch campaign.

"Recently launched in October, it encourages residents to earn points and vouchers in return for reducing their waste and to date more than 700 residents have signed up."