Following the first (and hopefully last) virtual LARAC Conference, we would like to thank everyone who took part – the visitors, speakers and, of course, the sponsors who make the event possible each year. Here we reflect on some of the highlights over the course of the two days.
Day one featured headline presentations from Chris Preston, Deputy Director for Resources and Waste at Defra, and Richard Thompson OBE of Plymouth University, who Leads International Marine Litter Research Unit at the University. The former outlined the ongoing work Defra has been doing to implement the government’s 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy and confirmed that consultations on EPR, consistency and a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) would be published early next year.
Mr Thompson, who has over 20 years researching marine litter and was the first to describe microplastics, provided the keynote address. His gripping address described the impact that plastics are having on the environment with emphasis on the oceans.
In a slight change to the typical conference format, a range of practical workshops were delivered across the afternoons of both days, rather than just on day two. These sessions covered topics from communications to textiles to health and safety and allowed visitors to home in on key areas specific to their role and authority.
Access the showreels of the presentations and workshops here
The Celebration Awards
"The sector as a whole has risen to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, and none more so than all the local authority officers, staff and their contactors. You have all done amazing work to keep services going the way you have, and to keep recycling levels high.” - Lee Marshall
On the evening of day one, we recognised the efforts and achievements of local authorities across the UK. Held virtually, the 12th annual LARAC Celebration awards ceremony was hosted by Lee Marshall, the Chief Executive of LARAC, who said: "The sector as a whole has risen to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, and none more so than all the local authority officers, staff and their contactors. You have all done amazing work to keep services going the way you have, and to keep recycling levels high.”
The winners of the awards were as follows:
BEST PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Viridor
Winner: Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council | Defeating Dudley’s Mattress Mountain
BEST TEAM OF THE YEAR – sponsored by FCC
Winner: London Borough of Hillingdon
BEST WASTE MINIMISATION OR PREVENTION PROJECT – sponsored by REPIC
Winners: Cornwall Council | Cornwall Repair Café Network
BEST NEW IDEA – sponsored by IPL, formerly known as MGB Plastics
Winners: Buckinghamshire Council
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO RECYCLING – sponsored by PermiServ
Winner: Julie Hughes, Recycling Engagement Officer, Cheshire West and Chester council.
Well done to all of the winners and finalists for their efforts in this most unusual of years. We will be revisiting some of their work in our two-weekly features, included in LARAC OnLine - so look out for future Spring editions.
In 2021, we plan on returning to the Hilton Birmingham, Metropole on 6th and 7th October 2021. Tickets will be released in May next year, so keep an eye out for updates.
We look forward to seeing you then.
LARAC and Environment Media Group