The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) aims to start an industry wide debate on the future of local authority waste and recycling funding with the publication a new policy paper, which recommends “serious” consideration of direct charging in the UK.
LARAC believes that without a “complete overhaul” of the current finance system, high recycling levels of household waste will be “virtually impossible” to achieve. It says that ongoing spend on waste and recycling by councils means that other key services such as education, social services and care services are being “robbed” of valuable funds that hits the most vulnerable in our society.
LARAC urges the industry and governments to come together to “turn the tide” of cuts to local authority funding and inject “much needed and ongoing finance” into the municipal system.
“Millions of pounds of public money are used each year to build and run these services but after years of austerity the current funding model is no longer fit for purpose.”
LARAC has made a number of recommendations which include serious research and consideration of direct charging in the UK, major producer responsibility reform and a managed process towards the standard use of the OPRL.
LARAC says the paper should stimulate debate and bring about key policy developments and change in council waste funding across the whole UK.
Carole Taylor, chair LARAC, said: “The achievement of local authorities in the past ten years to raise recycling rates to current levels have come at great expense to them. Millions of pounds of public money are used each year to build and run these services but after years of austerity the current funding model is no longer fit for purpose.
“We need to decouple the provision of waste services from council tax and move it to something that the supply chain and users are responsible for. This will mean some difficult conversations across industry and consideration of thorny policy areas, but it is time to grasp those particular nettles.”
LARAC is concerned that current developments in the industry, while looking more closely at the concept of producer responsibility, have been silent of how funds would be channelled into the kerbside, bring and HWRC infrastructure that local authorities have built up.