The UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has begun the second phase of its cross industry project to examine ways to bring greater consistency to household waste and recycling collections in England.
According to the organisation, working with Resources Minister Rory Stewart, the project has brought together representatives from local authorities, waste management contractors, recyclers, producers and the retail sector to examine opportunities for greater consistency in household collection and recycling services.
WRAP, which has been tasked with, delivering this for Defra, said that it believes this is the first time such an attempt has been made to consider the entire journey taken by products and packaging.
“We are looking to develop a vision for England that will offer local authorities a way to recycle greater volumes of higher quality materials whilst reducing costs, delivering good services to residents and supporting growth in the recycling sector,” explained Marcus Gover, director at WRAP.
“It won’t be a one size fits all solution and we want to work with local authorities, to demonstrate the business case for change.
“This is not just about what local authorities do though, all parts of the value chain have a role to play in achieving greater consistency and improving recycling,” he added.
The first phase of the project considered a range of scenarios, models and different approaches to consistency and areas for further investigation.
WRAP said that these will now be taken forward by the advisory group and form the second phase, which will lead to the publication this summer of a vision for greater consistency in collections, what it means for England and the opportunities for different stakeholders.
“I’m pleased to see the great progress underway to look at reducing the number of collection systems across England,” commented Resources Minister Rory Stewart. “The work by WRAP will eventually mean everyone across the country will be clear on what and how they can recycle.”
WRAP said that details of the vision will now be developed, but certain elements will be considered further such as a consistent set of materials for recycling; including food waste.
The potential to rationalise collections around three main systems will also be considered – a move which WRAP said would also offer an opportunity to standardise collection containers used, subject to accommodating different housing types.
Other work streams include working with demonstrator local authorities and wider supply chain initiatives.
The WRAP-led steering group, of which the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) is a member, has also plans to produce a publication this summer outlining its vision aimed at harmonising UK food waste collections.
According to ADBA the project has already undertaken considerable data modelling to assess how government could engender greater consistency of UK household waste collections.
ADBA’s chief executive, Charlotte Morton, commented:
“Delivering greater consistency in waste collections would make recycling easier for families across the country, and help improve recycling rates – particularly where separate food waste collections are provided.
“The advisory group has held very productive discussions, and Rory Stewart’s leadership has been enormously welcome.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the advisory group and our members across the AD industry in phase two, ensuring more food waste can be recycled as energy and fertiliser.”
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