LARAC has said the latest DEFRA figures on the national recycling rate show the effects the ongoing council budget cuts are having on local authority waste services. LARAC believes the drop in recycling levels shows the funding of council waste services need a fundamental review and concepts such as Extended Producer Responsibility and Direct Charging need to be explored and implemented. LARAC urges DEFRA to work constructively with itself and other local government groups to map out the policy instruments that will see the UK achieve the 50% recycling rate it now appears to be in danger of missing.
Andrew Bird, Chair LARAC, said “we are obviously disappointed that the rates have gone down for the first time. But when waste services are competing for a reduced budget with adult care, education and social services it is clear something is going to give. We need to establish new funding streams into local authorities to ensure the recycling rate increases again. As an industry we need a mature conversation about how we can implement EPR and Direct Charging systems that provide funds to the relevant parts of the system, enabling Producers to meet their obligations and ensure a step change in the recycling habits of people. ”
LARAC highlights how much the green waste recycling rate can impact on the overall rate and that is largely influenced by weather. LARAC suggests that this shows a tonnage based measure is not ideal and that other metrics should be considered in future.
LARAC is pleased to see that the amount of food waste collected by councils has increased in the past year, showing the call for mandatory targets in this area are misplaced and not needed.