England’s Increase In Waste Arisings Could Put More Pressure On Councils, Warns LARAC
The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) has warned that the increase in England’s waste arisings could put further pressure on councils during a time of already “dwindling” budgets.
With more cuts expected and local authorities having “few real powers to do more than encourage waste minimisation”, according to LARAC, the committee has called on government and the wider industry to support local authorities in getting the waste minimisation message across to householders.
Defra released figure last week showing that while England’s recycling rate has risen slightly to 44.8% – an increase of 0.6% – waste airisings in the country have jumped up 3.7% for the 12 months in 2014.
Sally Talbot, Vice Chair LARAC, said: “While some will no doubt concentrate on the overall recycling rate the increases in dry and food recycling show our members are still introducing new services and aiming to hit the 50% target.
“Local authorities have done sterling work in this area but it is time to recognise that there is only so much we can do”
“This is all the more commendable given the ongoing squeeze of council budgets and the certainty that more are to come. However the figures show that people are consuming again and the increase in overall waste arisings is something that needs to be tackled at a national level. Local authorities have done sterling work in this area but it is time to recognise that there is only so much we can do.”
LARAC has said given the figures show how something such as seasonal and yearly variations in the weather impact significantly on the recycling rate the time has come to look at alternatives to the weight based targets.
LARAC points out that the current EU Circular Economy consultation provides the perfect opportunity to discuss how targets can be better set, if the UK is willing to fully engage.
It also wants to see better alignment of household and producer responsibility targets so that there is incentive for funding to flow into local authorities to increase the capture of packaging and other materials to the benefit of all.
Despite the increase in recycling, the Environmental Services Associated (ESA) has said that if the UK is going to meet the 2020 EU target of recycling 50% of household waste, England needs to improve.
ESA’s Executive Director, Jacob Hayler said: “It is positive to see that England’s recycling rate hit a new high of 44.8% in 2014. However, if we are to hit our 2020 recycling targets then the pace of increase will clearly have to improve.
“Three quarters of the improvement in annual performance came from higher rates of organics recycling and, as local authority budgets continue to be squeezed going forward, we need to ensure that these trends aren’t reversed.”