LARAC calls on next Government to ‘rethink stance on frequency of residual collection’

With opinion polls indicating there will soon be a change in political leadership in the UK, the trade association is calling on the next administration to prioritise key waste management reforms. 

Bins in a rowThe Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) has called for the incoming Government to stick to the course with plans for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Simpler Recycling, while recognising councils need for flexibility to implement waste services in their area.

Highlighting the ongoing uncertainty about the timetable for packaging EPR, it says that implementation delays have left  local authorities in a state of uncertainty, hindering their ability to plan and budget for necessary service changes. As such, LARAC calls for timely clarification on the definitions of "efficient and effective" processes, assurance that EPR funding will be additional and not reduce existing central government funding, and supportive improvement plans to ensure effective compliance.

In addition to EPR, LARAC says it supports the measures proposed in the current Government’s plan for Simpler Recycling (in England), but disagrees with the recent government proposal for fortnightly residual waste collections, arguing that it contradicts the majority consultation response and undermines the goals of Simpler Recycling reforms. It cites evidence that suggests extending the interval between residual waste collections can improve recycling rates, reduce household waste volumes, and save money for local authorities, aligning with efforts to meet net zero carbon targets. As such, LARAC urges the next government to reconsider its stance on residual waste collection frequencies and recognise the importance of longer intervals in achieving recycling targets and reducing overall waste.

With respect to the proposed introduction of Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) by October 2027, LARAC advocates for delaying implementation until after EPR and Simpler Recycling reforms are fully operational and assessed. The current timetable leaves a funding gap for local authorities managing recyclables that will be subject to DRS that are excluded from EPR that is due to start 30 months before the proposed UK-wide DRS. LARAC highlights the need for interim funding solutions and transparent processes for local authorities to manage and reintegrate DRS materials without incurring additional, uncompensated costs.

To ensure the successful implementation of these reforms, LARAC stresses the importance of adequate funding and support from the central government. This includes covering transition costs, public education campaigns, and infrastructure upgrades necessary for new collection systems.

LARAC Chair Cathy Cook commented: "We look forward to collaborating with the next government to enhance the effectiveness of waste collection and recycling systems in the UK. It is imperative that we work together to achieve our collective environmental goals."

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