The Government announced at the weekend that as part of its 'Simpler Recycling' plans, homes and businesses across England will be able to recycle the same materials, but councils will be able to decide how to collect them.
Weekly collections of food waste will be introduced for ‘most’ households across England by 2026, the Department for Environment, Food Security and Agriculture (DEFRA) announced.
It also proposed including in guidance an expectation that residual rubbish is collected at least fortnightly.
The District Councils’ Network said it was ‘a victory for common sense’ for councils to decide how to collect a consistent set of materials.
However, the cross-party group raised concerns about any plans for weekly food waste and fortnightly residual waste collections and said councils should be left to decide what works best.
The DCN stressed that reforms should be implemented in a ‘realistic timescale’, pointing out that uncertainty over national policy had seen councils postpone upgrading infrastructure, which they might now struggle to do in just over two years.
DCN environment spokesperson Sarah Nelmes added: ‘Although we will be spared the costs of buying vast numbers of bins and vehicles for the sole purpose of conforming to top-down stipulation, there will still be significant costs attached to the reforms, and we await further detail from the Government on how they will be funded.
‘Any ongoing costs must be covered through either new burdens funding from the Government or from the upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.’
Local Government Association environment spokesperson Darren Rodwell echoed these calls, welcoming the retention of local flexibility while stressing that costs must be transferred to waste producers.
The Government said it was ‘moving forward’ with the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.