Waste collection and ‘producer pays’

I don’t think I’ll be alone in being highly sceptical about moving to standardised waste services and making all councils operate weekly food waste collections.

“Collecting food waste from street properties is one thing, but collecting it from high-rise buildings is entirely different

Councils already have existing contracts that will need unpicking, and varying infrastructure that will need upgrading upfront.

Waste collection varies hugely from area to area – and collecting food waste from street properties is one thing, but collecting it from high-rise buildings is entirely different.

And I have little confidence that there is any prospect of Mr Gove identifying a genuine way to fund fully either upfront costs or the additional ongoing cost to councils.

His latest pronouncement isn’t all bad – councils have been calling for the ‘producer pays’ principle to be applied to packaging, with businesses or manufacturers meeting the cost of recycling or disposing of their products, so this could be a step in the right direction.

The test will be whether Mr Gove actually works with councils, rather than issuing dictats from Whitehall. Let’s hope he will take time to listen to councils, rather than repeating the ‘chaos theory’ approach he took to school reform – because councils are still trying to clear up the mess he made with that…

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