Defra announce 'Simpler Recycling' plans

On the 21st of October 2023 Defra announced that they are making changes to household and business bin collections and becoming more stringent on unscrupulous waste carriers to boost recycling rates and ensure waste ends up where it’s supposed to be.

This more simplified approach will mean that people across England will be able to recycle the same materials regardless of where they are in the country; including glass, metal, plastic, paper and card.

In addition to this, weekly food waste collections will also be introduced in 2026 which will cut the amount of food waste in landfill and reduce the number of bin collections in some local areas. This will not be applicable for local authorities who already have a long-term residual waste disposal contract.

It has also been proposed that exemptions will be introduced to ensure that waste collectors can collect dry recyclables together and organic waste together to avoid excessive numbers of bins being needed.

All of this ties into the wider efforts that are being introduced to reduce waste and increase recycling rates. On the 1st of October, bans were implemented on certain single use plastic items and the government are also looking to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

Funding for this new recycling scheme will be provided through a combination of new burdens funding, as well as payments through extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging. These EPR payments will be due in October 2025.

Previous steps such as charging for single-use plastic carrier bags have successfully cut sales and waste, so hopefully these new initiatives will also produce the expected results.

These consistency measures will ensure that across England, people will be able to recycle the same materials, no longer needing to check what their council will accept for recycling. Simpler Recycling will ensure that local authorities retain the flexibility to collect the recyclable waste streams in the most appropriate way for their residents.

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