LARAC has called for greater industry wide collaboration and more engagement with local authorities following two recent industry reports. LARAC has dismissed the recent REA report as self-serving and not reflective of the actual savings that might be realised by the introduction of food waste collections. LARAC has also expressed dismay that the ESA appear to be peddling the myth that local authority collections are inefficient, a viewpoint that is outdated and shows a lack of understanding of council operations.
LARAC says it is disappointed that reports looking to influence and fundamentally change the way in which local authorities operate had no engagement with local authorities themselves. LARAC says this has to change if the waste sector is to move forward and if we are to achieve current and future recycling targets.
Andrew Bird, Chair, LARAC, said “The REA report calls for mandatory food waste collections in England on the back of modelling that shows the real savings come from changing residual frequency and reductions in food waste being produced in the first place, which are very optimistic to say the least. It also makes no mention of the huge financial support Welsh and Scottish Governments have made in supporting the introduction of food waste collections in those countries or the complications that having split collection and disposal roles in two tier areas brings to the costs allocations. So the ability to realise savings from food waste collections in England are much more limited than the report suggests.”
Commenting on the recent ESA report that called for transfer of duties and more efficient use of waste systems Andrew Bird said “local authorities have risen to the challenge of making services more efficient in these hard times, whether delivered directly or through outsourcing. To suggest that they are not or to call for a fundamental change in how local authorities operate without engaging with us first to see how it could work and what the challenges and possible consequences are is disappointing and a missed opportunity. LARAC has shown itself to be willing to work closely with other parts of the sector to improve recycling and help others achieve their targets and we need more talking to local authorities instead of talking at them.”
LARAC will be engaging with the ESA to understand better exactly how they see the local authority role in household collections in the future and how the two organisations can work more closely together to the benefit of both sets of members. LARAC is keen to explore how funding from producers can be channelled to local authorities to support collections of materials in the household waste stream that fall within producer responsibility legislation.