Refuse collection: fifth report of session 2006-07, [Vol. 1]: Report, together with formal minutes

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Stationery Office, Jul 16, 2007 - Architecture - 57 pages
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Responsibility for household refuse collection and disposal belongs to around 400 local authorities in England and the historical development of such a disparate system means practice varies widely on timing and frequency and the types of materials collected and recycled. EU landfill restrictions, designed to combat climate change, have driven a shift towards greater recycling as councils seek to avoid paying substantial fines. The Committee's report examines the range of collection methods used and how these can help reduce the amount of municipal waste sent to landfill, financing aspects of refuse collection, waste planning, financial incentive schemes and the 'polluter pays' principle. The report finds that there is no single waste collection system suitable for all local authorities across England, given the range of local circumstances, but the challenges posed do require a national response driven by a clear vision energetically communicated from central government. This includes the need: for best practice guidance on information provision to householders on collection methods (particularly alternative weekly collections); to promote greater awareness in households of the need for food waste reduction; and to prioritise performance improvement in waste management within the Government's new local government performance framework. Other recommendations include the need for further research into the public health impacts of alternate weekly collections in order to satisfy public concerns over the increased risk of vermin and pests; and for wider application of the colour-coded recycling system developed by WRAP (the Waste and Resources Act Programme) to help reduce the differences in recycling practice across local authority boundaries. The Committee supports the ability of councils to form joint authorities but raises concerns over the Government's current plans for financial incentive schemes for recycling. It also recommends that, given the majority of waste is produced by commercial, industrial and construction industries, the programme of affordable recycling services for businesses is needed, especially for SMEs.

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