Clearer labelling to boost recycling rates

Councils have maintained household waste recycling rates at the current national rate of around 45 per cent in recent years, against a target of at least 50 per cent by 2020.

There are more than 20 different recycling labels that can appear on packaging, creating confusion among consumers and leading to many recyclables ending up in landfill. One council alone found that more than 40 per cent of household rubbish it sends to landfill could be recycled.

As well as clearer labelling to increase recycling rates, the LGA is also calling for the next government to charge manufacturers more to cover the end-of-life costs to councils of packaging that is more difficult to recycle, which would encourage manufacturers to switch to recyclable alternatives. The resulting revenue could be invested in waste collection and recycling services, and green initiatives.

Manufacturers also need to pay the full cost of recycling their packaging to incentivise them to use packaging that is fully and easily recyclable, and councils need to be adequately funded so they can expand their services.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Environment Spokesman, said: “Councils want to increase recycling rates. Clearer labelling and increased charges for hard-to-recycle products would help councils, manufacturers and the public be part of a vital recycling revolution.

“More importantly, manufacturers need to reduce waste at the point of source to stop unnecessary and unrecyclable material becoming an issue in the first place.”

  • All major supermarkets have announced they are on the verge of eliminating hard-to-recycle black plastic from their own-brand products, which is something the LGA has long called for.
Recommended
The National Graduate Development Programme is helping councils nurture the talent they need to develop…