LGA briefing: Debate on the threat to the environment by plastic and the case for improved recycling, House of Lords - 19 December 2018

The LGA has long called for businesses and manufacturers to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging.


Key messages

  • Waste and recycling are among the most valued services any council provides. They are used by all council taxpayers and represent the third biggest spend in council’s budgets. A doubling of spend by councils to £3.28 billion has seen recycling rates improve 400 per cent in the last decade.
  • The Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, is a step in the right direction.ii We have long called for businesses and manufacturers to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging, and we are pleased the Government has listened to us.
  • We agree with the Government that even more needs to be done to boost recycling rates and raise standards and meet national targets. Councils must be able to respond to their local circumstances in how they collect and dispose of recyclable material.
  • It is positive that 99 per cent of local authorities currently collect plastic bottles. Over half of all councils also provide drop-off points for plastics.iii Despite these services, only fifty-seven per cent of all plastic bottles consumed in this country are recycled.
  • Over half of all councils in England offer some form of food waste collection, Garden waste is collected by 97 per cent of English local authorities, with just over half (58 per cent) charging residents for collection.
  • We support the Government’s ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste. Its recent initiatives, including the announcement of a deposit return scheme, are positive.vi If the proposals are to be a success, they must work alongside kerbside recycling and not be seen as an alternative to it.

Download the full briefing
LGA briefing: Debate on the threat to the environment by plastic and the case for improved recycling, House of Lords - 19 December 2018