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Waste collection systems should be standardised, Veolia deputy CEO believes

The UK should standardise the way local authorities collect waste, limiting the number of collection models available believes Veolia Environmental Services deputy chief executive director Paul Levett.

At a meeting of the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, Levett spoke about the need for a more holistic approach to waste collections. He said: “There is no one-size-fits-all system as all communities are different. But today we have more than 100 different paradigms of local authority collection systems. We probably need a greater standardisation across the systems, so we have about half a dozen systems for the local authorities to pick from.”

He told MRW: “Lack of standardisation makes benchmarking difficult and prohibits a standard communication and training campaign for residents because of the variety in the approaches to collections.

Also speaking at the event was Lichfield District Council chief executive Nina Dawes. She responded: “Why is there a plethora of collection systems? Well, if you haven’t got a plastics processing plant nearby, then a local authority cannot really collect plastics [but other local authorities will be able to collect plastics.”

His comments come at a time when the debate over the best way to collect waste (commingled or source-segregated) has been reignited following the Campaign for Real Recycling’s action to seek a judicial review of Defra’s decision to include commingled in the Waste Framework Directive.

Levett also said he believes local authorities may decide to jointly procure contracts in future in order to reduce their costs. He added: “Cost pressures will mean that more local authorities will re-enlist outsourcing.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Many myths exist in the world of recycling and one of them is that moving plastic bottles to a recycling plant is not carbon efficient. The truth is that in the UK we have several outstanding plastic recycling plants and we would encourage all local authorities to commit to the collection of plastic bottles which are the crucial in feed to these green industries. Domestic recycling of plastic has the potential to add thousands of green jobs as well as reduce the carbon footprint of the UK packaging sector and allow us to Close the Loop on this recycling stream.

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