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Government plans for a 'national bin service' could introduce six different recycling collections, it is suggested





New recycling rules could see households and councils needing to juggle as many as six rubbish bins for every home under new Government plans to boost recycling.

Local councils currently have discretion over when and exactly how they collect rubbish from their residents and businesses.

The changes may lead to households needing more recycling bins. Image: iStock.
The changes may lead to households needing more recycling bins. Image: iStock.

But it is believed ministers are keen to see the introduction of one single waste policy for all of England – a move being dubbed 'the national bin service'.

Plans, that could reportedly be unveiled this week, could see more stringent rules imposed on all local authorities who will be forced to follow the same processes unless there is a good reason not to do so.

The changes could see councils needing to arrange and divide household collections into six types of recyclable items – food waste, garden waste, cardboard, glass, metal and paper – which could leave millions of homes needing extra bins to comply.

The different waste streams, it is believed, would then be required to be collected and recycled separately unless there were technical or economic reasons why a council would find that impossible.

It is expected that the government wants to see councils do more to separate recycling. Image: iStock.
It is expected that the government wants to see councils do more to separate recycling. Image: iStock.

The aim is to increase recycling rates, where it is felt nationally that progress has stalled, and simplify waste management.

Separating rubbish into various bins is already being done in other parts of the UK including in Pembrokeshire in Wales, which took on six bins in 2019 and now has one of the highest recycling rates in the country at 73 per cent.

But suggestions that all councils will soon have to follow the same policy have been branded as 'unworkable' by some council leaders who say making everyone do the same thing is 'madness'.

While lobby group District Council's Network also says it fears any standardisation of waste services will only impede council work to boost recycling as people are put off making the effort as well as leading to more bin lorries needing to be on the roads.

Recycling rates haven't changed much since 2015. Image: iStock.
Recycling rates haven't changed much since 2015. Image: iStock.

Why the change?

Recycling rates in England have hovered at around 45 per cent since 2015 – with the Government working towards a rate of 65 per cent by 2035.

Paving the way for the changes was a new law, passed last year, that demanded that a consistent set of recyclable materials be collected separately.

The Environment Act, which became law in 2021, also requires discarded food to be collected at least once a week while the government also wants to see all councils collecting garden waste for free under a basic service – with the option to charge for anything beyond it.

Two years ago the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ran a public consultation on the best ways to utilise the powers in the Act and it is the Government's response to this survey that councils are braced to receive this week.

However the proposals contained within the original consultation document would cost more than £465m per year for the first seven years to implement, suggests research conducted by DCN.



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