Sheffield has one of the worst recycling rates in England, according to newly published Government figures.
Slightly more than 30 per cent of the city’s rubbish was recycled during 2013-14 – the lowest rate across all Yorkshire authorities.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs figures – pulled together by national recycling firm SITA UK – also show Sheffield falls short of the national average of 43 per cent of ‘household waste sent for re-use, recycling or composting’.
Keen recycler and mum-of-two Yvette Garrison, said charging for collecting garden waste in Sheffield was a backwards step – as many people now put that waste in black bins for burning or landfill.
The Meersbrook resident said: “I’m surprised the rate is so low, but I don’t think people care.”
Grandad Stephen Middleton, of Mosborough, said: “Charging for garden waste makes a difference, because people won’t pay for it.”
Sheffield has one of the lowest landfill rates in Europe because waste is burned in a city centre incinerator.
However, the energy recovery facility at Bernard Road, which powers homes and city centre buildings, was blamed as one of the reasons recycling is low.
Coun Robert Murphy, Sheffield Council Green Party member for Broomhill, said: “Sheffield is leading the way in burning rubbish, not recycling it.”
The council said the figures reflected it had saved more than £6 million from its waste budget due to Government cuts.
Coun Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for environment, said it was ‘flawed’ to take recycling alone to indicate performance, adding the city was ‘miles ahead’ when it came to landfill rates.
She said: “We are committed to maintaining our reputation as a green city and encourage people to recycle, but the financial savings we must make means we have to look at waste as a whole and the best environmentally friendly ways to manage it. This means recycling items that give the greatest environmental benefit like cans and plastic bottles.
Elsewhere, Barnsley Council recycled 51.6 per cent of household waste, compared with 40.9 per cent in Rotherham, 40.2 in Doncaster and 41.5 in Chesterfield.
Derbyshire Dales Council recycled 55.7 per cent of household waste, while in Bolsover, the rate was 40.3.