Defra delayed publishing the consistency of collections consultation until today due to purdah, a time of restricted government activity pre-election.
It was hoped that the consultation would be released simultaneously alongside the consultations surrounding Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging and a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, that were both released on 24 March. With the consistency of collections consultation delayed due to purdah, stakeholders now have a brief but crucial window of opportunity to consider these three key policies simultaneously before the EPR and DRS consultations close on 4 June. The new consistency of recycling collections consultation closes on 4 July.
This consultation, resulting from commitments made in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy builds on proposals first consulted on in 2019 to introduce standardised collections of recyclable materials from both households and business by 2023.
Kerbside recycling rates in the England have not significantly increased in years, despite rising targets. Moreover, a lack of clarity and consistency between local authority collection services has been criticised by the public.
The first consultation contained questions surrounding this whilst also highlighting the need to incentivise local authorities and private waste collector to expand their collection and recycling services, and for the UK as a whole to produce uncontaminated and unmixed waste streams for exports.
Key views sought on proposals
Whereas important decisions have been made in the last two years, the consultation asks stakeholders for views on key areas that include:
- Materials to be included in dry household recyclables collections. The Environment Bill (which is not yet legislation) contains a schedule requiring all local authorities to arrange collections for glass, metal, plastic, and paper and card. However, what materials should be included in these streams is still up for debate, and respondents are asked to consider this with EPR reforms and the DRS in mind.
- The Environment Bill also mandates food waste collections from every household. The consultation asks respondents about how this might work and when it could be implemented. For instance, how frequent should these collections be?
- Businesses will be obliged, again under the Environment Bill, to ensure recycling collections of glass, metal, plastic, paper and card and food waste from their premises. As to be expected however, there are a number of complexities surrounding this that need to be considered beforehand. One such area that needs considering is how this might affect small businesses, who could find that such collections become very costly.
A significant challenge
Head of innovation and policy, Robbie Staniforth, commented "We are relieved that the consultation has finally been launched today. The delay was unfortunate but we can now get down to the task of analysing the impact of these changes to how citizens will interact with packaging."
"But of course this consultation also covers many other important resource issues, like food waste collections. Resource managers have a significant challenge on their hands to prioritise packaging ahead of 4 June deadline and then look more broadly at proposals thereafter."
Why should I respond?
The consultation is open to responses from anyone, not just technical experts. It is crucial there is a wide range of respondents with an equal representation of views to achieve the best regulatory outcome.
It is important that all those affected are fairly represented during decision-making and we recommend all producers to submit their own individual response to the consultation. We can provide you with guidance and assistance throughout the whole process if you plan to directly feedback to the consultation.
Get up to speed with our free webinar
We are presenting a free webinar to get you up to speed on the consultation, including the key facts you need to know, how you could be impacted and how you can respond. The webinar will also include a Q&A session at the end where you can ask our team any questions you may have. Please use the link below to find out more and to book your place:
Overview of the consistent recycling collections in England consultation
1.00pm - 2.30pm on 27 May
Click here to book now
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about the consultations, please contact our team.
As Policy advisor Louisa provides key support to our team, including preparing reports on environmental policy issues and maintaining awareness of new developments. As such she will often be found coordinating responses to policy consultations, advocating policy positions and providing internal guidance to current legislation.