Confusion - more over 'why' than 'what'

As I write this we are at the end of Recycle Week 2018 and it was good to see so many positive messages out there on social media, promoting the benefits of recycling. Recycle Week this year seemed to be kick-started early by the media, triggered the BBC, jumping in with both feet on the “confusion” message again. They published a plastics article which said people surveyed recently regularly argue about what type of plastics they can or can’t put in their recycling bin. 

The simple answer is contact your local council and they will tell you or look on their website – it is clearly explained. I do feel the “confusion” is more about the “why” than the “what” can be put in recycling locally. That is, why can I not recycle pots, tubs and trays when they are clearly labelled recyclable? We need to keep repeating (recycling!) the same messages over and over as to why not, and I do feel that consistent materials that are designed with recyclability in mind and clearly labelled will be the key going forward, and what we hope Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) will influence.  

No doubt there will be a lot of discussion on EPR at the national LARAC conference next week, and as always, we have a 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.  

Before that and by the time you have read this, I will have spoken on a panel at Conservative Party Conference about the role Local Authorities will play in a whole system approach to the Circular Economy. No doubt the confusion and consistency issues will be raised there, and I will make sure our LA voice is heard as to why we need more funding, consistent materials and available end markets before we can even consider a harmonised approach to collections.