“Simpler recycling” unlikely to boost recycling rates, NLWA says


North London

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) warns “Simpler Recycling” proposals will not significantly boost North London’s two million residents’ recycling rates.

NLWA “broadly welcomes” plans for consistent collections but has called for more “ambitious changes” to facilitate a sustainable and circular economic transition.

Chair, Cllr Clyde Loakes, says policy measures – recently renamed “Simpler Recycling” – don’t include strategies to reduce consumption and the contamination of recycling and prevent recyclable materials from going to waste.

In its response to a Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) consultation on proposed exemptions, including the co-collection of dry mixed recyclables, NLWA argued that local authorities are best placed to decide how they collect waste and recycling in their areas. One of the reasons they cited was how local circumstances impact the frequency of residual waste collections.

Cllr Loakes commented: “The move to roll out separate food waste collections to all properties is positive, but there is little detail on how the Government will help meet some of the challenges.

“And while the Government has said it will fund the new services, they said it will be based on ambiguous ‘modelled costs’ and funds from Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) payments by manufacturers, which could bring more complications.”

The Government should be making a herculean effort to ensure that producers minimise packaging that needs recycling or disposal.

The Authority has called for clarity on how food waste collections will be delivered in practice, especially to people living in flats and on estates where NLWA says access and space can often hinder effective recycling.

NLWA also cites concerns around finding market capacity to take additional waste, including plastic film and plastic bags, which will be included in collections by 2027. As these lightweight items and recycling rates are currently calculated by tonnage, NLWA is urging the Government to implement new methods to calculate success.

The Authority is also calling for the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and EPR to be implemented “without further delay to move the burden of waste management back on producers and create an economic incentive for them to reduce waste”.

Cllr Loakes added: “The Government should be making a herculean effort to ensure that producers minimise packaging that needs recycling or disposal.

“All packaging should be made from sustainable materials that can easily be recycled. And crucially, producers must make products that can be easily reused, repaired, or dismantled for parts towards new products.”

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