UK government reforms aim to end ‘confusing patchwork’ of recycling arrangements

The government has unveiled an overhaul of recycling collection arrangements across England.

The move aims to streamline collections, by ensuring the same materials can be collected England wide from homes, as well as churches, prisons, charity shops, hostels and community venues.

Through its ‘simpler recycling’ strategy councils will be allowed to collect plastic, metal, glass, paper, and care in one bin to avoid cluttering streets. Food and garden waste can also be collected.

“This will reduce confusion over what items can be recycled, as people will no longer have to check what their specific council will accept for recycling,” said the government.

“It will also reduce complexity for councils and other waste collectors, ensuring they retain the flexibility to collect recyclable waste in the most appropriate way for their local areas.”

The reform follows a consultation involving the views of packaging designers and manufacturers, councils, waste management companies, charities and other business associations and trade bodies.

This saw the majority of respondents supporting including additional premises such as prisons and public meeting places.

“Householders can take this government announcement as a pledge that, wherever we live across the nation, our local councils will all speedily implement recycling collections of the full range of materials that will match on-pack recycling labels citizens rely on for guidance,” said Paul Vanston, chief executive of the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment.

The government has said that it will monitor charges councils make on non-domestic premises for recycling to ensure costs “remain reasonable”.

Under the changes councils will now be expected to collect black bin waste at least fortnightly.

“We all want to do our bit to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill – but a patchwork of different bin collections across England means it can be hard to know what your council will accept,” said recycling minister Robbie Moore.

“Our plans for Simpler Recycling will end that confusion: ensuring that the same set of materials will be collected regardless of where you live.”

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