Local authorities warn consistent waste collection changes risk “chaos”

waste collections

According to a BBC report, local authorities have warned that the UK government’s plans to introduce consistent waste collections across councils in England could be “chaotic and unworkable”.

The government is soon expected to announce details of the reforms to waste collection in England.

The proposed policy changes could see local authorities required to arrange the separate collection of six types of recyclable waste. The government said consistent collections will increase recycling rates and simplify waste management.

Speaking to BBC News, council leaders said the policy could have negative consequences. One said it would be “madness” to mandate local authorities with different needs to collect waste in the same way.

In 2022, the government passed a new law that required a consistent set of recyclable waste materials to be collected separately from all households and businesses. The Environment Act also requires that food waste collection must take place at least once a week.

According to the law, local authorities must collect recyclable waste streams separately unless doing so is not technically or economically practicable, or would not significantly benefit the environment.

CIWM will continue to support its local authority members through the next stage of getting the consistent collections policy introduced.

In 2021, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ran a public consultation on consistent recycling collections.

The BBC reports that local authorities have said they expect the government to release its response to the consultation this week (20 March). A Defra source didn’t deny this to the BBC and reportedly only said the response would be published “in due course”.

Commenting on the report, Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director, CIWM, said: “The changes that the consistent collections policy will bring about are some of the biggest that councils have had to face in years and this is bound to bring a number of challenges.

“The policy isn’t about having just one way of collecting recycling and waste and so should be flexible enough to take account of local circumstances. CIWM would want to see that flexibility in place so that councils have enough freedom within an overall framework for collections to put in place the most effective services for their area.

“Once we have the Government response then all sides can work through the details that will be needed to get the policy introduced in as smooth a way as possible. CIWM will continue to work with Defra on this and support its local authority members through the next stage of getting the consistent collections policy introduced.”

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