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NIC welcomes new waste strategy but says real action is now needed

The strategy includes recommendations for weekly collection of food waste for households and appropriate businesses.

The government has today published its new resources and waste strategy to help ramp up recycling rates. The strategy includes measures in line with recommendations from the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA).

The publication of the strategy follows research for the National Infrastructure Commission, which highlights the strong public support for the government to drive up recycling rates and tackle plastic packaging and food waste in particular. 

Launched today by environment secretary Michael Gove, the new resources and waste strategy includes:

  • Introducing a consistent set of core recyclable materials collected from all households and businesses – in line with the NIA recommendation for consistent national standard for recycling to be in place by 2025; and
  • Weekly collection of food waste for households and appropriate businesses – mirroring recommendations in the NIA, to reduce the amounts going to landfill and to enable production of biogas.

The new strategy also includes proposals to ban plastic products where alternatives exist, which follows an NIA recommendation for restrictions on the use of PVC and polystyrene in packaging. The NIA recommendations are designed to meet key targets for recycling 65% of all municipal waste, and 75% of all plastics packaging, by 2030.

Research for the National Infrastructure Commission shows strong public support for action in this area. 79% of those questioned would be prepared to separate their food waste, 68% already sort plastic packaging for recycling, and half of those questioned said they would pay up to £30 a year more for their groceries in exchange for more recyclable packaging.

Responding to today’s resources and waste strategy, a spokesman for the National Infrastructure Commission said: “Far too much of our waste goes to landfill or incineration, releasing harmful carbon emissions and hampering efforts to tackle climate change. Our research shows the strong public support there is for action to ramp up recycling and to tackle plastics and food waste in particular. 

“Today’s new waste strategy includes welcome moves to address this which are in line with recommendations in our National Infrastructure Assessment. We now want to see ministers consult and act quickly, matching the public’s appetite for change, and increase recycling rates to support our efforts to tackle climate change.”