It’s hard to believe that we’re only two weeks away from our annual LARAC Conference, where has the last year gone? But instead of our usual Nottingham venue, this year we’re at a new venue in Birmingham;The Hilton Metropole Hotel next to the NEC. What hasn’t changed though is the packed agenda with a great mix of keynote speakers, case studies and workshops. Not forgetting the awards which I have recently judged. It’s always fascinating to see the brilliant work that our members are doing, and we will be showcasing the finalists on our website soon after conference.
I was also at the NEC last week for the RWM Exhibition, where I spoke on a debate panel with the topic “Can DRS deliver?”. No doubt you are aware of LARAC’s stance is that we need more research into DRS to see if it can generate the results suggested by the Government, and also we want to see EPR and Consistency policies implemented first to see if a DRS is really needed. If we manage to achieve high recycling rates without DRS, then do we really need a competing system introduced for the recyclable material we already collect?LARAC’s Vice Chair, Dan Roberts, was also at RWM speaking about the consistency proposals, having recently given evidence to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee on plastic and food waste. As we have previously said, we need more consistent materials produced, secure end markets and then councils can work towards even more consistent collections than we have already. We constantly remind our audiences that councils are already achieving a high level of consistency with 99% of councils in England collecting paper, card, cans and plastic bottles from the household; 88% collecting glass and 79% collecting pots, tubs and trays.
In my day job at Pendle Council, we are about to start including pots, tubs and trays into our kerbside collected recycling, along with most Lancashire collection authorities, and therefore this will help push the 79% figure to over 80%.
Next week is Recycle Week, with the theme “It’s In Our Own Hands” and I hope to see plenty of media coverage of the good work we know our members already do. Recycle Now has launched a toolkit to help and it’s available free to all local authorities here.
Our next LARAC OnLine will be due a week later than normal, i.e. after conference, on Weds 9th October, so that we can give you all the news and updates from the LARAC conference. I’m really looking forward it and I hope to see some of you there.