The proportion of household waste sent to be recycled in Hampshire is below the average in the South East, new figures show.

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy said a simpler recycling system is needed as England falls "further and further behind" its European neighbours.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs figures show 567,475 tonnes of waste were disposed by Hampshire County Council in the year to March 2023.

Of this, about 219,754 tonnes were sent for reuse, recycling or composting – meaning the area had a recycling rate of 38.7%.

It was close to the year before, but below than the average for the South East (45.4%).

Across England, the recycling rate fell – from 42.5% in 2021-22 to 41.7% last year. All regions had decreases in their recycling rates, except for London which saw no change.

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: "It is disappointing to see our recycling rates falling at a time when we should be doing more than ever to stop valuable materials being buried or burned.

"We are falling further and further behind some of our neighbours in Europe. In Germany, 71% of municipal waste is recycled and Slovenia has seen recycling rates increase from 22% in 2010 to 60% in 2021."

She added producers need to make it easier for people by using packaging that can be recycled in kerbside bin collections alongside a simpler recycling system.

Despite the overall reduction in waste collected from households, she said the amount of rubbish generated per person must be "dramatically cut".

"We will do this by reducing the amount of 'stuff' we buy and repairing or reusing what we already own," she added.

Overall, total local authority managed waste in England decreased by 6% to 24.5 million tonnes in the recent year.

The figures also show the estimated household waste fell from 417.2 kilograms per person in 2021-22 to 390.2 kilograms last year.

In Hampshire, about 400.2 kilograms of household waste was recorded per person last year – down from 422.4 kilograms in 2021-22.

Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the LGA said: "Every place is different, and councils understand that what works for reducing waste in an urban tower block is different for a rural cottage."

He said recycling rates can be boosted with businesses and manufacturers improving waste reduction and package reuse.

Local authorities also need clarity on the timetable for Government's plans to reform waste and recycling, he added.

Environment minister Robbie Moore said: "Reducing waste and increasing recycling is crucial for protecting our environment for future generations.

"Overall, the amount of waste from households has gone down, but recycling rates have also fallen slightly this year."

He added: "We know there is more to do and that is why we are pushing forward with plans for a new, simpler common-sense approach to recycling – making recycling easier for everyone across the country."