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Not so environmentally friendly: Study reveals the UK’s ‘least green’ cities

Nottingham is the UK’s least green city. This is due to there being just 23.9% of all household waste being recycled.

Imagine, "the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute," Source - Bedgeska, Public Domain (CC0 1.0)
Imagine, "the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute," Source - Bedgeska, Public Domain (CC0 1.0)

There are many polls and research areas tracking the ‘greenest’ locations or innovations, but how about those that are lagging behind? An alternative means is to assess the UK’ ‘least green’ locales.

A recent survey places Nottingham as the UK’s least green city (previously Glasgow occupied to spot). This is based on the percentage of recycled waste, air quality and the number of nature and park attractions. Sunderland and Glasgow take second and third, respectively

The study comes from refuse skip hire company ReliableSkip.com, who analysed several factors for each UK main city, including the percentage of recycled, reused, or composted waste, the air quality, and the number of nature and park attractions in each area. Each city was scored and ranked out of 100 based on these factors.

It found that the city of Nottingham is the UK’s least green city, with a ‘green score’ of 43.75. This is due to there being just 23.9 percent of all household waste being recycled, along with an average air quality of 2.31, based on 2022 data. Findings also found there to be 31 nature and park attractions in the city, which is around 0.96 per 10,000 people.

Taking second on the list is the Tyne and Wear city of Sunderland, scoring 44.83 out of 100 on the study’s green score. The city comes in with 28.1% of all household waste being recycled and an air quality score of 2.58. The city also has 12 nature & park attractions, which is around 0.43 per 10,000 people.

Coming in third on the list is Glasgow, with the Scottish entry scoring 45.18 out of 100 on the study’s green score. Just 27.3 percent of all household waste is recycled in the city, scoring 2.43 for air quality. There are 45 nature and park attractions in the city, which is around 0.75 per 10,000 people.

Birmingham takes fourth place as the biggest city in the top ten, with a clean score of just 45.2. 22.5 percent of all household waste is recycled, the lowest of any city, and it scores 2.81 for average air quality. Additionally, there are 0.54 nature and park attractions per 10,000 people.

Rounding out the top five is Liverpool, which scores 46.94 on the green score. This is due to an air quality score of 2.63, 23.5 percent of all household waste being recycled, and there being 0.97 nature and park attractions per 10,000 people.

#City% of Household Waste Recycled, Reused, or Composted (2021)Average air quality to nearest region out of 10 (2022)Number of parks per 10,000Clean Score /100
1Nottingham23.90%2.310.9643.75
2Sunderland28.10%2.580.4344.83
3Glasgow27.30%2.430.7545.18
4Birmingham22.50%2.810.5445.20
5Liverpool23.50%2.630.9746.94
6Portsmouth24.70%2.680.8847.43
7Leicester35.70%2.580.5249.32
8Brighton30.10%2.381.2249.53
9London30.30%2.990.3449.63
10Manchester36.30%2.550.5449.67

Commenting on the findings, Paul Bennett, Operations Director at ReliableSkip.com, states in a message sent to Digital Journal: “While we can all do our bit to help keep the UK, and the world, green, through methods like recycling, it’s imperative that this is also enforced and encouraged in the public eye. This is why it’s interesting to see the difference some cities have in their waste management, with some cities doubling others on the amount they recycle.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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