Posted: 26/10/2023

‘Simpler Recycling’ for Households and Businesses in England and Follow-up Consultation

On 21 October 2023, DEFRA published the Government response to the Simpler Recycling consultation (formerly Consistency in Household and Business Recycling in England).

In summary:

  • By 31 March 2025, non-household municipal premises (such as hospitals, schools, and businesses), except micro-firms, will be required to recycle all recyclable waste streams, excluding garden waste and plastic film.
  • By 31 March 2026, local authorities will be required to collect all recyclable waste streams, excluding plastic film, from all households in England, including a weekly food collection for every household, unless transitional arrangements are agreed.
  • By 31 March 2027, micro-firms (businesses with fewer than 10 full-time equivalent employees) will be required to recycle all recyclable waste streams, excluding garden waste. Plastic film collections from all properties will also begin.

This will mean that every household, business, school and hospital across England will be obliged to recycle the same materials in the following groups: metal, glass, plastic, paper and card, food waste and, for households only, garden waste.

This new approach aims to end confusion over what can and cannot be recycled, driving up recycling rates, reducing contamination, and will provide a consistent approach to waste collections.

A closed consultation is currently taking place with local authorities on possible exemptions relating to source separation of material.

An additional consultation has been launched on additional policies related to Simpler Recycling in England, regarding expanding the list of non-domestic premises in scope. The consultation closes at 23:59, on 20 November 2023. The full consultation document can be found on the DEFRA website by clicking here.

As part of this, DEFRA held a Local Authority & Waste Management Forum on 24 October 2023 going through the key headlines of Simpler Recycling, including the consultations, funding and next steps. DEFRA also spoke about Waste Crime and Waste Tracking, outlining the reforms to the waste carriers, brokers and dealers regime, and digital waste tracking. This forum was aimed at local authorities, local authority networks, waste management companies and representative groups based in England, and gave a first chance for questions to be asked around the topics. A write-up of the meeting and the Q&A is due to be shared in their newsletter next week.