William Eichler 01 December 2023

'Lack of clarity' puts recycling reforms at risk

Lack of clarity puts recycling reforms at risk image
Image: Lucus Hunt / Shutterstock.com

A ‘lack of clarity’ around the Government’s recycling reforms is preventing councils from preparing for the upcoming changes, according to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) waste reforms, including ‘simpler recycling’, extended producer responsibility and the deposit return scheme, seek to reduce the environmental and economic costs of waste.

However, according to a PAC report published today, ‘a lack of certainty’ and ‘delays’ mean that councils are unable to invest and improve their recycling services and are forced to delay procurement.

The committee warns this could result in more plastics being incinerated, taken to landfill, or exported.

‘Changing how we deal with waste is crucial to save the environment from further damage and meet the legally binding target of net zero emissions by 2050. To meet its targets, it’s vital that the Government encourages a circular economy where products can be used again or for longer,’ said PAC chair Meg Hillier MP.

‘Without a clearly communicated vision from Government on how these crucial reforms will actually work in practice, it's unlikely that these targets are reachable.’

A Defra spokesperson said: 'Significant progress has been made on the delivery of our reforms to reduce waste and improve our use of resources. 

'We are working with the supply chain to strengthen relationships and ensure they are kept informed and involved.

'We are delivering on our commitments. In October we set out a new, simpler, common-sense approach to recycling, meaning that people across England will be able to recycle the same materials alongside proposals for a weekly food waste.'

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