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Waste Policy Updates September/October 2023

Commercial Waste Services Westminster
Commercial Waste Services Westminster

Transforming recycling practices in England: DEFRA’s latest initiatives

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has introduced a series of groundbreaking initiatives aimed at revolutionising recycling practices in England. In this blog, we’ll go into the key updates, including the ‘Simpler Recycling’ scheme, bans on single-use plastics, and the developments in extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes.


1. Simpler recycling


DEFRA’s ‘Simpler Recycling’ scheme, previously known as ‘Consistency of Collections,’ is set to reform recycling practices across England. The scheme’s primary goal is to establish a standard recycling approach for households and businesses eliminating variations based on location. 

By March 31, 2025, businesses (excluding micro-firms) must recycle all recyclables: plastic, paper, card, glass, metal and food. Please see a full list of what should be recycled within each category. By March 31, 2027, micro-firms must do the same, excluding garden waste. Plastic film collections will also begin.


  • glass packaging including bottles and jars


  • steel and aluminium tins and cans
  • steel and aluminium aerosols
  • aluminium foil
  • aluminium food trays
  • steel and aluminium jars and bottle lids
  • aluminium tubes


  • plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET, including amorphous, recycled PET), polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • pots, tubs and trays made of PET (including amorphous, recycled and crystalline PET), PP (including expanded PP) and polyethylene (PE)
  • PE and PP plastic tubes larger than 50mm x 50mm
  • cartons for food, drink and other liquids, including aseptic and chilled cartons
  • plastic film packaging and plastic bags made of mono-polyethylene (mono-PE), mono-polypropylene (mono-PP) and mixed polyolefins PE and PP, including those metallised through vacuum or vapour deposition (to be included from 31 March 2027)

Paper and card:

All paper and card except:

  • paper and card that contains glitter or foil
  • paper that is laminated
  • stickers and sticky paper
  • padded lined envelopes
  • paperback and hardback books
  • wallpaper

For more information and to read the full government response, click here.

2. Ban on single-use plastics


As of October 1, 2023, DEFRA has enforced a ban on various single-use plastic items in England. This crucial step aims to reduce litter and encourage the reuse of materials. The ban applies to a wide range of items, including cutlery, balloon sticks, polystyrene cups, and food containers. Notably, it encompasses both online and over-the-counter sales, emphasising the government’s commitment to curbing plastic waste.


3. Public accounts committee (PAC) session: Evaluating reforms


The PAC recently conducted a session to overlook the UK Government’s resources and waste reforms. Key points of discussion included concerns about consumer behaviour, delays in waste management guidance, and the anticipated release of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) framework. The session provided valuable insights into the complexities and challenges of implementing these reforms.


4. Extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme: An update 


DEFRA has initiated the application process for participation in the “interim” Scheme Administrator (SA) steering group for the UK’s EPR scheme for packaging. This development marks a significant milestone, as the SA will play a pivotal role in managing payments to local authorities and assessing the effectiveness of services. The interim group, comprising representatives from various stakeholders, will play a crucial part in shaping the scheme’s governance.


What next for businesses in Westminster?


The policy updates for September and October 2023 signify a shift in recycling practices in England. From the ‘Simpler Recycling’ scheme to the ban on single-use plastics and advancements in extended producer responsibility, these updates strive towards a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious future. Stay tuned for further updates on these transformative measures. You can access the full policy updates here.

Please contact us if you would like expert aid in understanding and applying the latest policy’s to your business by emailing us at commercialwaste@westminster.gov.uk or calling 020 7641 6180.

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