UK’s Defra announces Simpler Recycling approach

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Robbie Moore, recycling minister for the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced a new, ‘common-sense’ approach to recycling that aims to make it simpler and boost recycling rates for the nation.

Councils will be allowed to collect plastic, metal, glass, paper and card in one bin in all circumstances. Similarly, food and garden waste will also be allowed to be co-collected. There will remain a non-recyclable, residual waste bin.

According to Defra, the move “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. 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.

“Additionally, the Government is supporting more frequent and comprehensive bin collections. A minimum backstop means councils will be expected to collect black bin waste at least fortnightly, alongside weekly food waste collections. This will stop the trend – seen outside England – towards three-weekly or four-weekly bin collections. Councils are also being actively encouraged to make collections even more frequent, to prevent smelly waste from building up outside homes.

Recycling minister, Robbie Moore, commented: “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.

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

Paul Vanston, CEO of the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN), said: “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.

“Those paying the very substantial costs for councils’ local packaging recycling services – especially citizens, brands and retailers – can rightly set high benchmarks of great customer service, superb packaging recycling performance and demonstrable value-for-money being achieved everywhere.”

The plans will apply to all homes in England, including flats. Similar measures will apply to non-household municipal premises, including businesses, hospitals, schools and universities.

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