One Bin to Rule Them All? DEFRA Plans Announced

household recycling bin

New, simplified collection plans in England mean that unlike commercial waste, households will now be able to enjoy the convenience of placing plastic, metal, glass, paper and card all into one single recycling bin, the government have announced.

In addition, councils will now have the option to co-collect food and garden waste according to DEFRA (The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs).

Photo of a domestic wheelie bin on a residental street

This decision aims to standardise waste management practices across the UK, reducing the confusion that has been caused by different systems implemented by different councils.

You can read more about Bristol’s 7 recycling bins in our blog here!

These measures will streamline the recycling process for local residents, workplaces, and educational institutions.

DEFRA have emphasised that these changes will eliminate the need for individuals to get lots of information on the specific materials accepted by the council that they reside in.

This can become very confusing for residents and business owners that want to correctly dispose of their waste in the most eco-friendly way possible.

This move will be much more inclusive for older, disabled, or more vulnerable members of the community who may struggle to get this information and remember it when they come to dispose of their waste; especially when you consider the amount of packaging that uses paper, card, and plastic all on the same box.

photo of a resident putting recycling waste in the bin

Furthermore, DEFRA expressed its commitment to supporting councils in expanding collections to prevent bins from overflowing.

To this end, a minimum backstop will be introduced, requiring councils to collect black bin waste at least fortnightly, alongside weekly food waste collections.

Sky News has quoted Recycling Minister Robbie Moore as stating:

“We all want to do our bit to increase recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill – but a patchwork of different bin collections across England means it can be hard to know what your council will accept.

Our plans for Simpler Recycling will end that confusion: ensuring that the same set of materials will be collected regardless of where you live.”

The proposed measures will extend to businesses, healthcare facilities, schools, places of worship, charity shops, hostels, and public meeting places.

However, the government has yet to provide a timetable for the implementation of these changes.

Stay tuned for our dedicated blog on how the DEFRA updates will affect your business.

In the meantime, you can read information on how legislation in Wales has changed, adding more mandatory recycling bins to increase the commercial recycling rate in the UK.

a office worker putting paper in the recycling bin

Paul Vanston, chief executive of the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN), hailed the government’s announcement as a commitment to align recycling collections with the on-pack recycling labels that citizens rely on for guidance.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association, welcomed the decision to grant councils flexibility in waste collection methods, stressing the importance of tailoring approaches to meet the needs of diverse communities.

He emphasised the necessity of empowering local authorities to achieve national waste and recycling targets effectively.

About the Author

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Steve Traviss

Procurement & Sustainability Officer

Steve Traviss is MCIPS Chartered and is extremely passionate about the environment and corporate responsibility when it comes to sustainable waste disposal practices. Steve truly embodies everything we stand for at Waste Managed and in 2022, Steve took part in a world record scuba beach clean up in Thailand which we’re incredibly proud of him for. Steve researches and writes a lot of our blog content on our website and draws off of a wealth of experience in the waste management industry and knowledge of UK environmental legislation.


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