Further incentives and the wider roll-out of weekly collection schemes will be explored in the forthcoming review of UK waste policy, according to the study’s terms of reference.
Published today (29 July) by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) the terms of reference set out which areas of waste policy will be considered by the review, including Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ controversial plans to encourage weekly over fortnightly waste collections, and the wider uptake of incentive schemes to encourage recycling – two policy positions which have recently been adopted by the Coalition.
According to the document, the review will explore: “How best to understand and encourage or incentivise individuals, businesses and communities to produce less waste and recycle more.
“How government can work with local councils to increase the frequency and quality of rubbish collections and make it easier to recycle, to tackle measures which encourage councils specifically to cut the scope of collections; and to address public concerns over the civil liberty aspects of inappropriate enforcement practices associated with household collections.”
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We are committed to working towards a zero waste economy because it makes environmental and economic sense. Reducing waste needs to be made as easy as possible for people, it should be driven by incentives not penalties and common sense rather than coercion.
The focus on incentives and weekly collection schemes come as part of a drive to increase local decision making in waste policy decisions. The review will also consider “the role of planning including to enable community ownership of waste infrastructure,” and explore “the means of decentralising power and responsibility for some services to local communities.”
The Government also opened a call for evidence from stakeholders, asking for their views on the review of UK waste policy.
Spelman explained: “This will be a comprehensive review of all waste policy from product packaging to waste collection and I would urge everyone to get involved.”
Despite rumours in the Associated Press and the Telegraph that the terms of reference would include a statement on the reduction of wheelie bins, this has not proved to be the case.
A Defra spokesman told MRW: “There’s been lots of coverage in the media about wheelie bins, so if people are having problems with them, then [as part of the call for evidence] we’d love to hear about it.”
News of the review has been welcomed by the Local Government Association’s environment board, however, the board’s chairman councillor Gary Porter warned that a prescriptive approach to waste collections would not be idea.
Porter said: “There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to bin collections. Councils use many different methods to encourage people to recycle, and different methods work best in different areas. Councils will continue to work with residents to decide which approach works best for their area.”