Working towards consistent recycling in England

11th November 2015

Defra Minister, Rory Stewart asked WRAP to investigate the opportunities and challenges of having greater consistency in the collection of household waste and recycling. 

Representatives from local authorities, waste management contractors, recyclers, producers and retailers have been brought together by WRAP to explore options and develop recommendations to present to Defra later this month (November).  

Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP, said: “Over the last few months the group has met formally three times and we are all working together very constructively, with an eye on the prize; which is to improve recycling, minimise costs and make it easier for the public to recycle.

“We are not looking for a one size fits all approach.  It is more about trying to identify a small number of approaches to recycling collections that will increase yields and quality, improve services while reducing costs and complying with regulations. We also recognise that change won’t happen overnight so we are looking for a vision that local authorities could work towards as contracts expire and services are refreshed.” 

The group have been looking at possible scenarios including how consistency of materials collected, collection methods and standardisation of containers could help to improve quantity and quality of recycling and public participation. WRAP has modelled the costs and benefits of these scenarios and expects a menu of options for consistency will be available for local authorities to consider depending on their local circumstances and communities. But realising the benefits of greater consistency is not all down to local authorities, other players in the sector are being asked what they can do too. 

By considering a more consistent approach in England it’s hoped the public will have a clearer idea about what can and can’t be recycled, as well as improve the quality of the recyclate collected.  

Once Defra receives the report and recommendations, the Minister will consider the findings and feedback back to the group in due course. 



Ian Palmer

PR Officer, WRAP
01295 819 677