Consultation on consistency in household and business recycling in England

Posted in: bioenergy

Defra has released its “Consultation on consistency in household and business recycling in England”, aiming to “reduce confusion in the materials that can be collected for recycling at kerbside”.

Last week, NNFCC published its eighth annual “AD Deployment in the UK” report summarising the developments in the UK’s AD industry over the past 12 months and looking ahead to future developments in the sector. A few days later, Defra released its “Consultation on consistency in household and business recycling in England”, aiming to “reduce confusion in the materials that can be collected for recycling at kerbside”. The proposed changes, if enacted, have the potential to lead to less contaminated waste streams, which would in turn increase recycling rates, and eventually have a positive impact on AD deployment, capacity and performance in the future.

In May 2019, Defra concluded its first consultation on “Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England” to inform the Environment Bill currently being processed through the House of Commons. As a result of this first consultation, a set of recyclable waste stream collections will be set up for households, businesses and non-domestic premises. This latest consultation builds on the progress made in 2019 and seeks to inform the logistical and legislative aspects of those new recyclable collections. This short summary will review the parts of the consultation dealing with organics and garden waste, along with biodegradable and compostable packaging.

For domestic food waste collections, the consultation proposes that all Waste Collection Authorities (WCAs) in England be required to collect food waste as a single waste stream at least once a week, with the aim to recycle or compost it. An emphasis is being made on using said waste for AD. Defra would expect separate weekly food waste collections to be introduced during the 2023/24 financial year. Local authorities that do not currently have the required infrastructure, would be given an additional year to set up the new collection framework. Similarly, separate food waste collections for relevant non-domestic municipal premises are proposed. Here, food waste would be separated from dry recyclables and refuse, and pre-treatment could be applied to the waste prior to disposal. These measures would apply to non-domestic premises regardless of size. Finally, Defra proposes that compostable caddy liners be provided to residents and business owners for the disposal of food waste.

The proposed collection of garden waste from domestic properties mirrors the one proposed for food waste. Garden waste would be collected once a week as a stand-alone waste stream or would be mixed with food waste when waste segregation is neither possible nor beneficial. It is also proposed that these measures be implemented in the 2023/24 financial year.

The Environment Bill does not currently account for a separate waste stream for the disposal of biodegradable and compostable packaging. For the moment, Defra does not propose to include those items in any of the other existing recyclable waste streams either. However, the consultation stipulates that local authorities and businesses are not prevented from organising a collection for biodegradable and compostable packaging outside of the proposed framework themselves, with Defra proposing to provide guidance when needed.

The consultation is available to access here. Respondents are not required to answer all the questions and are encouraged to focus on the aspects of the survey that are the most relevant to them. The consultation will close on 4th June 2021. 

For more information:


This article was written by Thea Allary, NNFCC Research Analyst.

You might also be interested in: