Councils have been set clear targets by the Government’s Circular Economy Package, which commit the UK to achieve a recycling rate of 65% by 2035. Our current recycling rate in Southend-on-Sea is 44%.
Nationally, the revised Waste Strategy for England and the Environment Bill are also aiming to greatly change how waste is:
This will affect how local authorities collect and treat waste. The future Environment Bill states that food and garden waste must be collected separately from homes from 2023. We already do this in Southend-on-Sea.
We are also working hard to help the city achieve carbon net-zero status by 2030.
A cross party group of councillors recently ran a detailed project to look at how we could improve and increase domestic waste recycling in the city.
This report focuses on the level of household recycling in the city and considers what affects residents in terms of their recycling. The report also considers what barriers the community face to achieve a higher rate of recycling and explores ways of working with residents to improve household waste recycling.
In summary, the recommendations of that report were that:
- a service change to improve recycling rates should be considered as part of recycling and waste contract discussions for services beyond October 2023
- engagement with communities is ongoing to support participation in recycling services
- the council should explore disposal plans for residual waste other than landfill, to potentially recover energy and in the context of the waste chain
Resources and waste strategy (RWS)
The Resources and waste strategy (RWS) explains our aim to move to a more circular economy which will see us keeping resources in use as long as possible, getting maximum value and raising resource efficiency.
The changing legal rules also helps our commitment in the Resources and Waste Strategy to:
- recycle 65% of public waste nationally
- have no more than 10% of public waste going to landfill by 2035
UK Environment Bill
The Environment Bill sets a new ambitious domestic structure for environmental governance. It responds to a clear and urgent growing public demand for action to address environmental challenges including:
- biodiversity loss
- climate change
The measures for recycling will extend responsibility for waste disposal to those who produce it, reducing waste in the long term as well as creating reasons for the reuse of material, and moving towards a more circular economy.
There are five environmental principles introduced by the Bill:
- The integration principle: Policymakers should look for opportunities to add environmental protection in other fields of policy that effects the environment.
- The prevention principle: Government policy should aim to stop, reduce, or lessen harm.
- The rectification at source principle: If damage to the environment cannot be stopped, it should be challenged at its source.
- The polluter pays principle: Those who cause pollution or damage to the environment should be responsible for improvement or compensation.
- The precautionary principle: Where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, a lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to stop environmental degradation.
The Bill also outlines three possible plans to use these principles:
This plan explores the possibility of an authority running a separate collection for household food waste alongside an existing two-stream collection. By running an extra collection, the volume of residual waste will be reduced, and the number of dry recyclables and food waste increased. Research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) indicates that the most important features of a recycling service identified by householders are having a regular and reliable service and being clear on what can and cannot be recycled (WRAP, 2015, Recycling Tracker Survey). The Environment Bill requires local authorities in England to arrange for the collection of glass, metal, plastic, and paper and card, from households, for recycling. It also provides powers to require authorities in England to arrange for the collection of food waste, separately at least once a week for recycling or composting. In addition, the Environment Bill requires local authorities in England to arrange for the separate collection for recycling or composting.
A plan where consumers pay a deposit for the single-use container (e.g., a plastic bottle) at the point of purchase, which is then refunded to the consumer when they return the container for recycling.
This makes sure producers pay the ‘full net cost of recovery’ for the packaging that they produce (e.g., plastic bottles, cans, etc.). Producers will oversee funding the management of packaging at the end of its life.
Environment Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament
Circular Economy Package (CEP)
Turning waste into a resource is part of ‘closing the loop’ in circular economy systems. The UK’s ambition to move to a circular economy is shown in many of the changes made as part of the Circular Economy Package (CEP).
The changed legal outline on the circular economy shows clear steps for the reduction of waste and establishes an ambitious and credible long-term path for waste management and recycling.
The 25 Year Environment Plan
This sets out a framework for the production plan, giving producers a clear roadmap of how we will double resource productivity and achieve zero avoidable waste by 2050.
Now we have left the EU, the UK’s key 25 Year Environment Plan will continue to set our direction.
Litter Strategy for England
A circular economy which encourages re-use and lessens the amount of waste generated - links with the aims of the Litter Strategy for England to lower the waste that ends up in our rivers, seas, and our country overall.
PlastiCity Plastic Recycling Strategy
The plan, created by our PlastiCity team, gives a toolkit for:
- policy makers
to find and measure the plastic waste made by businesses in their regions and use this data to:
- build solutions to reduce plastic waste
- boost recycling
- introduce a local circular economy for business plastic wasted
Report: Replicable strategy to produce solutions for the collection, sorting and reprocessing of commercial and industrial plastic waste in urban environments - PlastiCityProject.