LARAC Applauds Government Response to ‘Simpler Recycling’ Reforms,But Expresses Concerns on Frequency Limits and Cost Implications

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) and its members are exhaling a collective sigh of relief as they welcome the much-anticipated response to ‘Simpler Recycling’, formerly known as ‘Consistent Collections’, reforms in England.

Since the groundbreaking publication of the Resource and Waste Strategy in 2018, LARAC has been a tireless advocate for the right of local authorities in England to tailor waste management solutions to their unique circumstances. With representation from 78% of all types of local authority in the UK (308 members and over 1000 council officers) LARAC is keenly attuned to the diverse needs of its members, who face varying challenges, including rurality, urban density, levels of deprivation, and available infrastructure for materials processing. As LARAC has repeatedly emphasised, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in waste management.

LARAC welcomes the decision to retain optional subscriptions for garden waste collections, allowing local authorities the flexibility to continue offering this vital service to residents.

Cathy Cook, Chair of LARAC, said,

“We applaud most of the announcements in the consistency response. Notably, our members now have the freedom to choose how they collect dry mixed recycling and the option to charge for garden waste. Introducing flexible plastic collections in 2027 and weekly food waste collections in 2026 is also a welcome step. However, we remain concerned about potential bottlenecks and price hikes resulting from concurrent procurement by local authorities.

We find the proposal to restrict residual waste collections to at least fortnightly disappointing. Collection Blueprints in Wales and Scotland have shown how limiting residual collections while providing weekly food waste collections is instrumental in encouraging recycling and minimising non-recyclable waste. Feedback from our members underscores that, on average, 40% of household rubbish is food waste. Weekly and fortnightly refuse collections do not incentivise food waste recycling. Therefore, we challenge the government’s assertion that weekly food waste collections alone will significantly reduce landfill waste.”

LARAC is also concerned about the potential financial burden on local authorities. The government’s intention to waive the new burdens doctrine for in respect of any guidance on fortnightly minimum residual waste collection is disconcerting. At least thirteen local authorities in England have transitioned to three-weekly collections. If these local authorities are required to re-introduce fortnightly collections, this would be costly, timeconsuming, and likely to increase the tonnage of residual waste collected thus reducing the recycling rate.

Despite these concerns, LARAC is encouraged by this positive step forward for the entire sector. We stand ready to assist our members in implementing these policies and navigating the forthcoming guidance.

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