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"Move on" from collection debate

The debate around whether kerbside or commingled recycling collection systems are best should “move on” according to local authorities.

Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) communications officer Lee Marshall told MRW: “One size does not fit all and we shouldn’t be having this debate anymore. We should be focusing our resources and energies on the outcomes: making sure that we are collecting material of the appropriate quality, providing services that will be used by the public, through systems that generate good recycling levels.

“As it stands at the moment there is not a definitive answer [to whether kerbside sort or commingled collections are best] - so let’s move on.”

His comments follow the release of WYG’s ‘Review of Kerbside Recycling Schemes Operated by Local Authorities’ which agreed there was no ‘one size fits all solution’, but put forward the case that most top performing council recycling schemes used commingled systems.

Marshall said local authorities now have the ability to model different systems and decide what works best for them. He added: “We have always said we don’t think it is right to have a standard collection system but we do think it is appropriate to have standardisation regarding the colour of containers used to collect different recycling materials and the range of materials collected by local authorities.”

Local Government Association policy advisor Clive Harris added: “There are lots of people advising local authorities and it is down to local authorities individually to weigh up the advice and decide on the best system for them. Landfill tax is being ramped up and local authority budgets are being cut so there is more pressure on finances. That means local authorities are being squeezed both ways and will have to think innovatively.”

Marshall said tight budgets would impact on any decisions to change collection systems which come with a price tag: “With the way the economic situation is cost will be the factor that is most prevalent and you may see that some local authorities don’t change their systems as a result.”

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