New year, new REPIC LARAC scholarship programme

Ringing in a brand new year can only mean one thing… REPIC is kicking off the next twelve-months of LARAC scholarship activity.

As you know, January is a big month in the WEEE recycling world, with DEFRA’s Resource and Waste Strategy being digested, together with the 2018 data and the PCS targets for 2019, there’s going to be a lot to discuss!

The latter has certainly fuelled debate throughout 2018, especially given that 2017’s targets were not met for the first time and 2018 targets look that they will not be met but by a smaller margin. Defra will publish a review of the effectiveness of the 2013 WEEE Regulations in 2019 and will seek views by the end of 2020, including on how the existing Regulations can be amended to encourage better designed products. It will be a very busy and interesting year.

But, in the meantime, we’ve brushed off the last of the mince pie crumbs and are ready to kick off an exciting season of events, site visits and round table discussions.

LARAC Scholars: Plant visit and round table discussion
First up is the LARAC Scholars event, taking place in Spring 2019. We are in the midst of planning a warm welcome to our 2019 scholars, along with a site tour, scholars will sit alongside expert guests from the industry to generate what we hope will be a lively debate.

The topic for the day will be EPR, target setting and best practice for instigating behavioural change. The roundtable, alongside recycling plant visit, will offer all the scholars unparalleled insight into the inner workings of the WEEE industry.

For our previous Scholars event in September 2018, the round table debate – held at the Electrical Waste Recycling Group (EWRG) in Huddersfield – brought together LARAC Scholars from councils in Bolton, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Rochdale. Lee Marshall, LARAC chief executive, and seven members of the REPIC team including chief executive, Mark Burrows Smith were also in attendance.

The topic of the debate ­– chaired by Will Date, associate editor at Let’s Recycle – was ‘sharing best practice behaviour change campaigns for improving recycling rates’. The aim was to ascertain top tactics for engaging consumers in WEEE recycling – effectively, getting them to ‘do the right thing’.

On the day, the group shared insight from the scholars around what behaviour change campaigns had worked well in their local areas. It was encouraging to hear that these activities had driven a real uplift in the individual Boroughs’ recycling rates, across WEEE and beyond.

Following the wealth of positive feedback from this event, we’re keen to follow up with another packed day of useful and engaging sessions. This year we are hoping to open up the event to both past and present LARAC scholars - to give the Alumni a chance to share their WEEE knowledge.

LARAC Conference 2019
Looking further ahead in 2019, this year’s LARAC conference will be held from 2nd - 3rd October with a scholars’ day on 1st October.

These activities come as part of our ongoing support of LARAC, which represents the emerging voice of local government recycling officers and is a hugely important part of what we do here at REPIC. We can’t wait to get cracking on the calendar of events for 2019!