Investment ‘vital’ if new waste strategy is to work

Council bosses have cash fears over new Government environmental  waste plan
Council bosses have cash fears over new Government environmental waste plan

Council bosses say the Government will have to be prepared to pay for a range of waste management schemes which local councils may have to put in force.

A proposed new environmental strategy would see every home have weekly food waste collections and packaging will be more clearly labelled to show if it can go in household recycling bins.

The new waste and resources strategy comes after the latest figures revealed household recycling rates have all but flat-lined in recent years, and amid widespread concern over waste such as single-use plastics.

The strategy will make it easier for people to know what they can recycle wherever they live, with more consistent schemes from council to council.

Coun Linda Green, Gateshead Cabinet member and chair of the joint executive committee of the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership, said: “Given the current financial constraints ourselves and neighbouring authorities are required to work within, future investment from Government and industry would seem to be vital if we are to continue trying to achieve and improve our aims.”

“The Government’s resources and waste strategy contains some eye-catching proposals and it will be interesting to see how these develop during the consultation process.

“We will be engaging fully with the Government’s consultations with a clear focus on how their resources and waste strategy might help support our own long-standing commitment to increase recycling, reduce household waste and manage resources in a sustainable manner.”

Under the plans, producers will have to pay the full net costs of disposing or recycling their packaging, up from a contribution of just 10% currently, and money will go to councils to help them improve waste and recycling systems.

With the industry having to pay higher fees if their products are harder to reuse or recycle, it is hoped the move will encourage more sustainable design.

It will raise between £500million and £1billion a year for recycling and disposing of rubbish, the Environment Department (Defra) said.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We really need to shift the dial on recycling and our strategy will help make that happen.

“We’ll make sure producers pay more in order to use the material that goes to generate all this waste.”