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'More consistent waste collections could rescue recycling figures'


The government’s new resources and waste strategy has been welcomed by the recycling sector. It offers significant challenges and opportunities for local authorities, and we expect executives and their political leaders will be focused on the financial implications.

There’s a lot to take in, but the forthcoming consultations will provide more detail over the coming weeks, letting local authorities help influence and shape how new policies are introduced.

Among the strategy’s ambitious proposals are those focused on achieving greater consistency in household collections, something WRAP has been supporting through its framework for greater consistency in household recycling in England. The proposals are encouraging to see given the latest dip in recycling figures in England.

It is proposed that all local authorities will collect a consistent range of materials, with the aim of reducing confusion for householders, increasing recycling rates and improving material quality.

This will be supported by the funds raised from industry through ‘extended producer responsibility’, which will see them pay higher fees if their products are harder to reuse, repair or recycle. It should encourage more sustainable design.

Separate weekly food waste collections are also proposed. Only half of councils in England currently collect food waste, so this will pose another funding challenge.

These are times of change, globally and locally. Local authorities have much to do to fulfil the requirements of the strategy. But there is a real appetite to embrace this change and use it positively to the benefit of our communities and businesses. It’s time to rethink and adapt.

One way local authorities can respond to the requirements of the resources and waste strategy is by accessing guidance and resources from WRAP. Our new Waste and Recycling Resources Toolkit provides tools, guidance and assets to help local authorities improve the service they offer.

Covering topics from food waste collections to improving quality, the toolkit is designed to make life easier for waste and recycling teams.

Furthermore, it provides information about the technical support available from WRAP to English local authorities wishing to undertake a review of their service or introduce a new collection scheme.

Sue Reed, programme area manager, WRAP

Download the toolkit Find out more about consistency in recycling at



Readers' comments (2)

  • There is a stealth squeeze on public finances so councils will not be adequately funded for the additions requirements and just how is money collected from industry. Is that what the government will look after?

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  • its simple work out the cost of household waste collection and treatment, per tonne and charge retailers per tonne of packaging material content in what they sell at that cost plus 20%. Distribute the tax back to local authorities in full but only on the recycled element, so there is a heavy incentive to councils to recycle, plus a very heavy incentive for industry to minimise waste

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