22 October 2023
The Government has announced that most homes in England will have separate food waste collections by March 2026.
This initiative is part of the government’s new ‘Simpler Recycling’ plans, which aim to standardise recycling across the country and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
The Environment Secretary, Therese Coffey, said: “Simpler recycling will help us all recycle more easily. Alongside weekly food waste collections, we are ending the postcode lottery of what you can put in your bin so that wherever you live in the country, you will be able to recycle the same products with confidence.”
The introduction of weekly food waste collections is expected to significantly reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill. Currently, only about half of English councils collect food waste separately. The new mandate will ensure that all local authorities provide this service, thereby promoting a more sustainable approach to waste management.
Food waste is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, which is many times more potent than carbon dioxide. By collecting and properly disposing of food waste, these emissions can be significantly reduced. Moreover, collected food waste can be used to produce biogas, providing a renewable source of energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
The government’s decision to implement weekly food waste collections has been welcomed by environmental groups and waste management organisations. However, it also represents a significant logistical challenge for local authorities, many of which currently do not have the infrastructure in place to handle separate food waste collections.
The new rules are designed to make recycling simpler and more straightforward for households across England. By standardising what can be recycled and providing clear guidelines on how different types of waste should be disposed of, the government hopes to increase recycling rates and reduce confusion among residents. Plastics, paper, metal, glass and garden waste will also be recycled consistently around England as a result of the measures. Only councils already in long-term waste processing arrangements will be exempt from the March 2026 deadline, instead having tailored deadlines set up for their transfer to Simpler Recycling.