Reforms to household and business bin collections and a crackdown on unscrupulous waste carriers will boost recycling rates and protect the environment, the UK Government has said, following the launch of new plans to tackle waste and recycling.
The Government says a new, simpler common-sense approach to recycling means people across England will be able to recycle the same materials, whether at home, work or school, putting an end to confusion over what can and can’t be recycled in different parts of the country.
The government is proposing new exemptions to make sure that waste collectors will be able to collect dry recyclables together, in the same bin or bag, and collect organic waste together, to reduce the number of bins required.
As previously confirmed by the Prime Minister, the new plans for simpler recycling will make sure that households will not need an excessive number of bins. The Government says that reforms will bring in a more convenient and practical system which prevents councils from being hit with extra complexity, while making sure all local authorities collect the required recyclable waste streams: glass; metal; plastic; paper and cardboard; food waste; and garden waste. This means manufacturers can design packaging and know it can be recycled across the nation, ensuring there is more recycled material in the products we buy and allowing the UK recycling industry to grow.
Paul Sanderson, chief executive, The Recycling Association, said, “Simpler Recycling should end the confusion around what can and can’t be recycled and we welcome the focus on the dry core materials of paper and card, plastics, metals and glass packaging.
“But it is disappointing that local authorities in England will be able to commingle this material, as we would have preferred paper and cardboard to be kept separate as a minimum. That would have avoided contamination and enabled better quality of paper and cardboard, but also the other materials where paper can act as a contaminant.
“The fact that Simpler Recycling will also apply across households and businesses will make it easier for people, whether at work or at home, to understand what can and can’t be recycled. That is a definite positive from Simpler Recycling.
“We would have preferred commercial and household collections under Simpler Recycling to be launched at the same time in 2025 but recognise that a great deal of progress has been made to bring about consistent recycling under these measures. At least now, our industry can start to plan with some certainty.
“On plastic film collections from 2027, we will need to see the detail as it will be essential that these are kept separate from the other core materials.”
He concluded, “We are also pleased that there will be more effort to crack down on rogue operators. Those who move waste illegally bring our entire industry down and it is in all of our interests to remove the criminal element.”