Only 32 councils in the UK have a worse household waste recycling rate than Reading Borough Council (RBC), according to research released this week.

The council has been ranked 308th out of 353 local authorities for its percentage of household waste sent for recycling.

30.7 per cent of household waste was recycled in Reading in 2017/18, almost 20 per cent below the UK’s 50 per cent target.

Councillor Sophia James, lead member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said the council has introduced major improvements to kerbside collection in early 2018, allowing everyone to recycle more plastic.

The changes mean households can now put plastic food containers in their red bins in addition to plastic bottles, along with Tetra Pak cartons and foil.

Cllr James said ‘improvements like these should have a positive impact on the amount of material recycled’.

Research by InSinkErator measured the recycling rate of councils in England based on Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs statistics from December.

Only Slough Borough Council performed worse than RBC in Berkshire, with 23.9 per cent of waste recycled.

27 out of the 66 councils in the South East are currently exceeding the UK target for recycling rates.

The region has the highest number of top performing councils in England.

RBC has the 13th lowest household recycling rate in the South East, while SBC has the second lowest.

Bracknell and Wokingham councils both have around a 40 per cent recycle rate, while West Berks is the only council to achieve the UK target with 51.5%.

South Oxfordshire District Council, meanwhile, has one of the best performances in the country – its 63 per cent rate puts it in third place.

Cllr James added: “Recycling rates vary widely across the country and can be affected by a number of different factors.

“Reading, like many other urban authorities, has a high proportion of flats and communal properties which can be a challenging environment to increase recycling.

“The council is working on a number of initiatives to improve recycling rates, including recycling officers helping households to recycle the right items.

“Reading currently sends less than 20 per cent of the waste it generates to landfill but recognises the importance environmentally and financially of increasing levels of recycling.”

All EU countries have committed to a target of recycling at least 50 per cent of household waste by 2020.

New and more ambitious targets were added last year: 55 per cent by 2025, 60 per cent by 2030 and 65 per cent by 2035.

The data can be viewed here: