Consultation Release: Consistency in Household & Business Recycling in England

On 7 May 2021, DEFRA released their second consultation on Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England following the first consultation period in 2019

This consultation will run until 4 July 2021 and details how government expect waste management at the kerbside and businesses to be provided by Local Authorities in the future. Unlike other DEFRA consultations on waste and resources, this will only impact England as waste is a devolved matter.

You can access full consultation details on the government website HERE

There are 26 key proposals in the consultation, however, they can be boiled down into 6 key sections as outlined below. The proposed changes for kerbside collection will not only change the way that we as consumers dispose of waste, but also determine what is considered “recyclable” or not. These materials should be considered closely when reviewing packaging material recyclability for Extended Producer Responsibility purposes.

1. Kerbside / household collection of dry recycling

By the end of the 2023/2024 financial year (or whichever year payments are first made to Local Authorities under Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging), ALL Local Authorities must collect four key separate waste streams from households – glass, metal, plastic and paper / card. These must contain the below:

  • Glass bottles and containers – including drinks bottles, condiment bottles, jars
  • Paper and card – including newspaper, cardboard packaging, writing paper
  • Plastic bottles – including clear drinks containers, HDPE milk containers, detergent, shampoo and cleaning product containers
  • Plastic pots, tubs and trays
  • Steel and aluminium tins and cans

Further to this, the “recyclable” waste stream will also include:

  • Aluminium foil
  • Aluminium food trays
  • Steel and aluminium aerosols
  • Aluminium tubes, e.g. tomato puree tubes
  • Metal jar/bottle lids
  • Food and drink cartons, e.g. TetraPak
  • Plastic films, e.g. bread bags, carrier bags (from 2026/2027)

Government is intending to provide guidance to Local Authorities on how best to collect waste streams separately. Where Local Authorities are unable to collect streams separately, they must provide a written assessment detailing the reasoning.

Plastic films will be mandatory for collection from 2026/2027.

Government is seeking views on the possibility of authorities collecting certain streams together (glass and metal or plastic and metal).

2. Kerbside / household collection of food and garden waste

Food waste collections must be provided by all Local Authorities weekly from 2024/2025 at the latest, with 2023/2024 as the expected starting point. This will need to include: food scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds.

Caddy liners will be collected alongside (containing) food waste.

Garden waste must be collected every two weeks, including:

  • Grass cuttings
  • Garden weeds
  • Plants and flowers
  • Hedge clippings
  • Leaves
  • Twigs and small branches

Alongside the above changes to household collections, government is seeking views on changes to materials facilities permitting regulations and the potential removal of “recycling credits”.

3. Business collections of dry recycling

By the end of financial year 2023/2024, the following streams must be collected from non-household municipal premises – glass, metal, plastic and paper/card.

The materials to be included aligns with those suggested under the kerbside / household materials.

In the case of business premises, plastic films must be collected from 2024/2025.

When streams cannot be collected separately, a written assessment must be provided.

Government is seeking views on the possibility of collecting certain streams together (glass and metal or plastic and metal).

4. Business collections of food waste

Food waste not recycled on-premises for business waste should be collected for recycling elsewhere.

5. Approach to small businesses

Government is seeking views on how to reduce barriers to increased recycling for small businesses.

The consultation contains a proposal for exemptions for microbusinesses, split between two options:

Option 1: Micro-firm producers of non-household municipal waste should be exempt from the requirement to arrange for the collection of five recyclable waste streams (glass, metal, plastic, paper and card, food waste) for recycling and to present this waste in accordance with the arrangements.

Option 2: Micro-firm producers of non-household municipal waste are phased into the new recycling consistency requirements in the Environment Bill, two years after the recycling consistency go live date.

A further option is the potential review of waste zoning, where specific areas / locations have zoned requirements and costs for waste management disposal.

6. Costs and benefits

DEFRA have expressed interest in a review of their cost assessment and the factors they have considered.

If you have any queries regarding this consistent collections consultation, would like to share your views with us for our scheme response and/or want more details about how we can support you with submitting your own response to government, please contact our policy team – / 01756 706 577