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What does the second Resources & Waste Strategy consultation hold for organic wastes?

The second round of consultation on the Resources and Waste Strategy was released on May 7th, setting out the policy proposals for a range of material streams, including household food and garden wastes.

The consultation clearly re-affirms the earlier policy intention for source segregated weekly food waste to be collected from all residential properties. The requirement will come into place in 2023/24, with all authorities to have enacted the policy and mobilised collection services by 2024/25.

The policy looks to assess the continuation of co-mingled garden and food waste collections against technical, economic and significant environmental benefits.  Where these cannot be demonstrated, the consultation proposes a transition period for existing co-mingled contracts contracts to move to source segregated collections upon their expiry; or, by a longstop date between 2024/5 and 2030/31.  The assessment of technical, economic and significant environmental benefits appears to be linked to a WRAP assessment tool which is presently in revision. Clarity on the scope and depth of the assessment made by the WRAP tool is urgently required to enable substantive feedback within this consultation.

Another proposed change is that co-mingled collections must be provided weekly, and not fortnightly as is the case in many existing collection schemes.  This will require reorganisation of services, and an assessment of how the costs compare to the introduction of a new standalone food waste service.

The policy position towards waste management systems that have an organics process embedded in the residual waste treatment solution looks to mirror the stance on co-mingled garden and food waste; both in terms of commitments and timescales.

Previous messages around meeting future cost burdens remain in this second consultation which now extend to include specific compensation costs for breaking existing contracts.

On garden waste, the policy proposes the re-introduction of nationwide fortnightly garden waste collections on a free basis, with the evidence base quantifying the societal benefit as outweighing the implementation costs over the evaluation period.

The consultation is open until July 7th giving industry two months to respond with their views on the proposals.  Providing government with evidence to support views will be essential.  Over the coming weeks WRM shall be analysing and scrutinising the content of the Resources and Waste Strategy and we would like to hear from waste service providers who may be impacted by these changes.

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