From my postbag and conversations with constituents, I know that many people locally care a great deal about the environment and recycling. And as a country we can be proud of our progress in tackling waste and managing resources. Since 2010 the amount of waste sent to landfill in England has fallen by 15 percentage points under the Conservatives. But we need to go even further and faster to reduce waste, reuse and recycle more. The Government has therefore just announced a comprehensive update of the Resources and Waste Strategy.
Our Strategy will cut reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste.
Our reforms will make certain that both the responsibility for, and the cost of, recycling or disposal of post-consumer products sits fairly and squarely with producers and not tax payers. We will reform existing packaging waste regulations in line with the polluter-pays principle, ensuring that producers pay the full costs of managing the packaging they place on the market when it becomes waste.
The money raised will be used to boost household recycling and make sure that any packaging used is recycled and disposed of properly. This will complement a tax on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, announced in the Budget, which will stimulate demand for recycled plastic.
These reforms will be complemented by improvements to local-authority and business collections systems. Householders want to recycle more, but materials collected for recycling vary from council to council meaning people are confused.
So we will consult shortly on legislating to allow Government to specify a core set of materials to be collected by all local authorities and waste operators at the kerbside, supporting comprehensive and frequent rubbish and recycling collections. We will also explore weekly separate collections of food waste and consider free garden waste collections for households with gardens, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.
The Strategy also sets out robust measures to tackle waste crime, which damages the environment, causes distress to communities, and costs the taxpayer money to sort out the consequences, and to end food waste through a food waste reduction scheme.
For those with detailed interest, the full Strategy document is available online:www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-and-waste-strategy-for-england