Councils feeling impact of China waste ban

Some of the councils that have been most affected warned that their recycling costs have increased by £500,000 on average over the last year as a result of the restrictions.

This is due in part to increased costs for processing materials for recycling. The fee charged to councils to process materials from kerbside collections at a materials recovery facility (MRF) is said to have increased from £15 to £22 per tonne over the last year.

The fee has increased to £35 a tonne compared with £29 a tonne for contracts signed in the past year.

Council leaders are calling for manufacturers to contribute more towards local authority costs for processing recycling and to reduce the amount of material, such as black plastic trays, entering the environment in the first place.

The LGA is also urging the Government to address the longer-term impact of the China ban in its forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Environment spokesman, said: “It’s clear that the ban by China on imported waste, which could soon be implemented from other countries, could have a marked impact on councils’ ability to recycle.

“Councils want manufacturers to play their part in the battle against unnecessary and unrecyclable waste.

“We are keen to get around the table with them to reduce the amount of material entering the environment that can’t be recycled.

“With the markets to sell unrecyclable material shrinking, it is essential that this is tackled as soon as possible.

“It is essential that the Government takes the opportunities of the upcoming Autumn Budget and publication of its Resources and Waste Strategy to assess the financial impact of these bans on councils thoroughly, and encourage manufacturers to take up more of the responsibility for dealing with these unrecyclable materials.”

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