All local authorities in England will be charging residents for garden waste collections by 2022, according the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (Larac).
Speaking at the Energy From Waste Conference 2017 in London, Larac chair Andrew Bird said continued funding cuts would lead councils to look at further ways to save money.
He said: “We are going to see more charging. With garden waste, where we all went out and collected that just to boost recycling rates and tick a big box, now it’s become a burden to us.
“About 40-50% of authorities are already [charging for collections] and I would suspect that, within the next five years, all will be doing it.”
Bird said reduced residual waste collections, by frequency or bin size, were likely to happen in England in an effort to save money.
He said this was also happening in the devolved administrations of Scotland and Wales, but with the main aim of pushing up recycling rates.
Bird said he doubted the UK would meet its 50% recycling target by 2020, but was optimistic about a renewed engagement from ministers in the industry through upcoming policies such as Defra’s 25-year environment plan.
Asked why councils such as Sheffield were cutting short their long-term PFI deals with waste companies, Bird said many were backed by an unspecific national strategy.
“Those contracts, which were set in the early noughties or even the nineties, just are not relevant any more and are actually a huge cost burden.
“In terms of the difficulties in getting out of those, they must be absolutely huge. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. But when they are having to take those drastic actions it is telling in terms of the financial outlook they have.”
Peter Sharpe, managing director of Teckal company London Waste, said: “Some of these contracts had struggled to achieve performance levels and some had struggled to achieve the required public transparency, such as the offshoring of tax and other issues that are very uncomfortable for local authorities.”