Government Waste and Resources Strategy ‘will make recycling easier’18/12/2018
Date posted: 18 December 2018
Under new Government plans every home in England will have weekly food waste collections and packaging will be more clearly labelled to show if it can go in household recycling bins.
The new Waste and Resources for England should kick-start stagnating recycling rates and put greater responsibility on the industries that produce packaging, but we will have to wait at least another four years to see any changes.
Dr Chris Tuckett,
MCS Director of Programmes
The plans are outlined the new Resources and Waste Strategy as figures for England revealed last week showed household recycling rates have flat-lined in recent years. There’s also widespread concern over the damage single-use plastic is doing in the natural environment, especially the world’s oceans.
The strategy outlines how it will be easier for people to know what they can recycle wherever they live in the country, with more consistent schemes from council to council.
In response, Dr Chris Tuckett, MCS Director of Programmes, says:
‘MCS has been monitoring litter on our beaches for 25 years now, and our volunteers picked up an average of 600 pieces of litter for every 100-metre stretch of beach we surveyed recently. We have long known about the problem of plastic waste and are now beginning to realise its’ devastating impact on our seas. The new Waste and Resources for England should kick-start stagnating recycling rates and put greater responsibility on the industries that produce packaging, but we will have to wait at least another four years to see any changes.
We know from the 40 other countries that have implemented them so far that Deposit Return Schemes increase recycling rates for drinks bottles, but the UK Government plans to introduce a scheme in England in 2023 at the earliest. We are already lagging behind in our action on single use plastic, and this delay seems designed to kick the can (and bottle) further down the road. We know what needs to be done and we can, and should, make progress more quickly.’
Among the proposals are –
Producers to pay the full net costs of disposing or recycling their packaging, up from a contribution of just 10% currently, and money will go to councils to help them improve waste and recycling systems.
Manufacturers could also have to pay for dealing with waste textiles, vehicle tyres and mattresses, in the same way they currently do for items such as batteries and electrical goods.
The Government will introduce a consistent set of recyclable materials – for example card, tins and types of plastic – which all councils will be expected to pick up from homes and businesses.
Consistent labelling will be developed on packaging so consumers know if they can put it in the recycling bin, which could be a simple as a “green dot” on items that indicates they can be recycled.
There will be weekly collections of food waste from every household, as well as a potential return to free garden waste collections for households with gardens – many of whom have seen charges introduced as spending cuts bite.
The plans are all subject to consultation in the new year when ministers are also set to consult on a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) to boost recycling of bottles, cans and disposable coffee cups.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We really need to shift the dial on recycling and our strategy will help make that happen.
“We’ll make sure producers pay more in order to use the material that goes to generate all this waste.
“And we will use that money to ensure that across every local authority, we’ve got a more consistent approach to recycling that will help citizens know exactly what they should put in which bin.”
While Mr Gove acknowledged there would be some people who objected to the plans, he believed the public wanted to see the Government step in and invest in making recycling “easier, more consistent and environmentally responsible”.
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