Sustainability: recycling consultation prepares the ground for new legislation


  • Sustainability

19 May 2021


As part of the Government’s commitment to move towards a circular economy and net zero emissions, Defra is consulting on how to increase consistency in the collection of recyclable materials from domestic and non-domestic premises in England.

The aim is to raise recycling levels to an overall rate of 65% and increase the quantity and quality of recycled materials sent to secondary materials markets, thereby reducing what is sent for energy recovery or to landfill and the subsequent greenhouse gas emissions.

As recently announced in the Queen’s Speech, the forthcoming Environment Bill will legislate on the four proposed dry waste streams for recycling collections. To ensure greater consistency and uptake these will be the same for household and non-household collections. Defra is seeking views on what materials these should include and the timeframe for implementation (currently proposed to be from 2023/24, with recyclable plastic film to be included from 2024/25).

The Environment Bill will also require food waste to be collected from all non-household premises from 2023/24. Food waste that is not properly recycled or fully recovered on the site of production must be collected for recycling or recovery elsewhere.

Other issues and proposals under consultation include:

  • the extent to which new recycling responsibilities should apply to different types of non-domestic premises
  • reducing the cost of waste management and compliance for SMEs and micro-firms, and/or potential exemptions/delays in implementation
  • barriers to higher recycling levels
  • waste collection zoning/franchising schemes, collaborative procurement of waste services, increasing commercial waste drop-off sites
  • support tools and guidance for businesses in conjunction with WRAP.

This consultation (closing date 4 July 2021) is running in tandem with two others as part of Defra’s wider proposals for collection and packaging reforms. The consultation on Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging proposes that the costs of managing packaging waste will be covered by packaging producers across the UK, while the Deposit Return Scheme consultation outlines a scheme for drinks containers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (both close on 4 June 2021).

Businesses, organisations and individuals across the workplace and FM spectrum will clearly be affected by the outcomes of the consistency in collections consultation and measures included in the new Environment Bill.

IWFM will be engaging with members of our relevant Special Interest Groups, particularly those in the catering and hospitality sectors, to seek their views on the Government’s plans and proposals, and the implications for our profession.

We will also be updating our good practice guide for members on Recycling, waste and resource management to reflect the latest insight and developments on this evolving topic.

We welcome comments from any of our members on the issues raised in this article. To get in touch please email: [email protected]