UK Government launches consultation on consistent recycling collections

Every household in England could receive separate, weekly food waste collections from 2023, under plans being considered by the UK government.

In the consultation, the Government says it will set out plans to make recycling ‘easier’ with a ‘clear list’ of materials that all local authorities and waste firms must collect from homes and businesses, specifically plastic, paper and card, glass, metal and food waste, as well as garden waste for households.

It says this will mean the end of ‘confusion’ for millions of homes and businesses having different collections in different areas. Government says this will help households ‘recycle more and send less waste to landfill’.

Our proposals will boost recycling rates and ensure that less rubbish is condemned to landfill

Additional funding and support will be provided to councils for their recycling collections, partly through the government’s reform of the packaging sector. which will see firms covering the full net cost of managing their packaging waste.

This means council taxpayers will not have to ‘foot the bill’, and in turn will be able to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging that is thrown away, government says.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Householders want more frequent recycling collections. Regular food and garden waste collections will ensure that they can get rid of their rubbish faster, at no additional cost to them.

“Our proposals will boost recycling rates and ensure that less rubbish is condemned to landfill.”

Minimum service standards

The plans include the introduction of statutory guidance on new ‘minimum service standards’ for waste and recycling collections – subject to an assessment of affordability and value for money.

This could recommend a minimum service standard of residual waste at least once a fortnight alongside the weekly collection of organic waste.

Councils would continue to be supported to collect more frequently than the minimum standard, which is especially important in urban areas, with less space to place bins and homes that have small or no gardens, government says.

Ministers are also considering free garden waste collections for every home, which could save householders over £100 million a year in green waste charges. Currently, councils have discretion on whether to provide the service, which is usually charged for on top of council tax.

Waste reforms

Government says the measures will help ensure that the Government meets its ambition laid out in the Resources and Waste Strategy of recycling at least 65% of municipal waste by 2035, with a maximum of 10% being landfilled.

‘Ministers are also committed to eliminating all avoidable waste by 2050’, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The proposals for consistent collections are part of the Government’s wider programme of major waste reforms which aim to boost recycling, as well as tackling litter and plastic pollution.

In March, a second round of consultations were also launched for Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, which will see packaging firms covering the full net cost of managing their packaging waste, and a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers, where consumers will be incentivised to return and recycle their bottles and cans.


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