Simpler Recycling plans finally released

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) unveiled its ‘Simpler Recycling’ plans on 21 October, which aims to ensure every council in England collects the same materials.

The Simpler Recycling policies are the same as ‘consistency’ policies first consulted on in 2019, but were revamped last month after Rishi Sunak scrapped any policies for ‘seven bins’.

The department hopes these reforms will “boost recycling rates, protect the environment, and simplify the process for both households and businesses.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: "Our ambitious plans will help every household, business, school and hospital in the country to recycle more. We have listened to councils and come up with a system that will increase recycling in a way that does not clutter our pavements with numerous bins and smelly food waste collections for weeks, making recycling simpler and more effective.

“This will help us to make the most of our finite and precious resources, while reducing carbon emissions and protecting our precious environment from harmful waste.”


Under the new system, people across England will be able to recycle the same materials, irrespective of their location, thus putting an end to the confusion regarding recycling rules in different regions.

Under the plans, all local authorities by 31 March 2026 will collect the required recyclable waste streams: glass; metal; plastic; paper and card; food waste; and garden waste.

Local authorities and waste collectors will be required to collect plastic film as part of the plastic waste stream by 31 March 2027.

The rules will also apply to businesses, excluding garden waste and plastic film, by 31 March 2025.

The government is also proposing new exemptions to make sure that waste collectors will be able to collect dry recyclables together, in the same bin or bag, and collect organic waste together, to reduce the number of bins required.

View our previous story on this topic, 'Has anything changed with consistency? [22/09/2023]'

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