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Call for councils to be responsible for supplying recyclates to market

Councils should be responsible for supplying markets with recycled material, according to the Government’s advisory committee on packaging (ACP).

The call from the ACP, chaired by Bob Lisney, former assistant director of environment at Hampshire County Council and comprising representatives of the packaging supply chain, comes in its annual report.

Writing in the foreword, Lisney said:  “What emerged during our work was the importance of the supply chain working together and a focus on making the value in materials the prime economic driver.

“In a recovery system which is fragmented at the point of collection in the domestic sector by public sector statutory roles, it is easy to see that this creates a challenge in a market driven system. Thus one of our recommendations is to suggest that local councils be given a statutory role to play a role of supplier of materials to the market as well as its role to provide general services for waste and recycling.”

A spokesman for the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said while it advocated an integrated approach to collection, recovery, infrastructure and end market, the ESA was “not quite sure how the new statutory responsibility referred to by the ACP would work in practice”.

He added: “But we’re certainly interested to see the detail of their proposals”.

A Local Government Association spokesman said: “Councils are leading the way in developing entrepreneurial and innovative ways to deliver services to benefit both tax payers and service users. As such they are looking to maximise income from recycling that can help plug funding gaps for waste services whilst making sure service remain accountable to residents.”

The report also recommends that Government encourage councils to “use the new contract specifications and advice developed by WRAP and IESE [Improvement and Efficiency South East]”.

It suggests councils would improve the “cost base of the core service” and receive a share of income or further cost reductions from increased collection rates by adopting the IESE framework. The committee calls on Defra to play a role influencing local authority leadership and decision making to “create a head of steam for implementation”.

But the ESA suggested the recommendation was “not something which appears to us to be within their core remit” and said ESA members would provide the best service possible regardless of the procurement method.

The recommendations in the ACP report:

RecommendationFor who
Industry groups provide directly or via WRAP greater research based evidence on the potential impacts of the identified trends by the end of 2012 so that forecast may be derived by the spring of 2013Industry
Councils during 2012 should be asked formally to play a role as a supplier ofmaterials to the market in addition to its obligation to provide a general public service for waste and recycling.

Defra in their meetings with the Department of Communities and Local Government and the devolved administrations firmly support and encourage Councils to use the new contract specifications and advice developed by WRAP and IESE.

ACP

Defra

Councils adopt the WRAP advice during the next twelve months so that the potential of existing systems and infrastructure to collect more bottles can be fulfilled.Local Authorities
During the next 12 months WRAP and industry representatives support those councils who currently do not collect bottles to work out the opportunities to bring on additional services for bottle collection within a deliverable timeframe.Wrap and Industry
That guidance to householders about which plastic materials can be put out for recycling should be improved during 2012, by retailers, local authorities, waste management companies, and plastics producers working together and when developed issued by WRAP with sufficient communication support to ensure adoption.Industry, Local Authorities and Wrap

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