HTA responds to Government consultation response on consistency in collections, now known as Simpler Recycling
24 October 2023
The government published their response to the consultation on the consistency in household and business recycling in England on 21 October 2023.
Upon reviewing the details, Jennifer Pheasey, Horticultural Trades Association Director of Public Affairs, commented:
“We welcome the government's commitment to achieving greater consistency in recycling and waste collections. Although this policy currently covers England only, we hope that it will serve as a blueprint for the entire UK, ultimately reducing inconsistencies and simplifying recycling processes for both consumers and businesses. We also hope this policy will align with broader waste policies like Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging and the Deposit Return Scheme, further promoting environmental sustainability.
“In our response to the consultation in 2021, we emphasised several critical concerns. Firstly, we sought clarity on the inclusion of horticultural plastics such as plant pots, compost bags and the recyclability of garden chemical containers. We also aimed to ensure this policy would not negatively impact green compost waste and digestate, which are valuable alternatives to peat in growing media.
“We are concerned that some clarity around this issue is still lacking. Specifically, we believe that non-black recyclable plastic plant pots should be explicitly accepted for recycling by local authorities due to households no longer “needing to check what their council will accept for recycling.” Clarity on this issue would help eliminate confusion for households regarding what can be recycled. Currently, only 11% of all UK local authorities collect plant pots in kerbside recycling, leaving a vast majority of plastic plant pots destined for landfills.
“Our other major concern lies in the proposal to allow a combined food and garden waste collection by local authorities. In our initial response to the consultation, we emphasised the risk of contamination in green waste and digestate, potentially affecting their adherence to PAS100 and PAS110 standards. This issue gains significance as the horticultural sector phases out peat usage. Composted green waste meeting PAS100 standards is vital to make it a suitable product as part of the alternative mixes that will be used as the industry transitions from peat. However, the introduction of food waste into the mix complicates matters, diminishes the overall value of the waste stream and results in less usable composted material.
“We strongly believe that a balanced approach is crucial to achieving a more sustainable and efficient recycling system in the UK. We hope that the government will address these concerns and provide the clarity needed to ensure the success of the Simpler Recycling initiative.”