Defra promises to introduce ‘Simpler Recycling’ to replace consistency of collections


A communication from Defra to industry stakeholders has said that it plans to introduce ‘Simpler Recycling’ instead of the formerly proposed consistent collections.

In an email following a speech by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on changes to a variety of environmental programmes, Defra said that Environment Secretary Therese Coffey would introduce the new Simpler Recycling instead of Consistency in Recycling.


Although details was lacking, the email said: “The new Simpler Recycling system, to be outlined shortly, will ensure all homes in England recycle the same materials, ending the confusion and postcode lottery over what can and can’t be recycled. Those materials won’t need to be separated at home – so whilst it was never the case that seven bins would be needed by households, this new plan ensures it.

“The nation will recycle the same materials across England, creating a stream of materials for manufacturers to recycle and use again and again.  

“This common sense approach will drive up recycling rates and is designed to work for households across the country.  Simpler Recycling builds a strong foundation that has the potential to rewrite how our economy grows, creates jobs and ends the throw-away culture.”

The Recycling Association chief executive Paul Sanderson welcomed the idea of Simpler Recycling if it was a rebrand to help the public recycle more.

He said: “Hopefully, this will translate to a genuinely easy-to-recycle system that the consistency of collection reforms promised and is essentially a rebrand to aid communication to the public.

“However, we still await the detail and what scrapping the top-down approach and smarter way forward for recycling and reuse actually means.

“It was also farcical for Defra to issue communications that said ‘it was never the case that seven bins would be needed by households, this new plan ensures it’. Why stop doing something if it was never going to happen anyway?

“Like in other affected sectors such as car manufacturing, energy generation and supply, and heat pump manufacturing, the recycling sector needs certainty. We had a good plan with EPR and the consistency reforms that we should get on with implementing. I hope these changes to bring ‘Simpler Recycling’ don’t make everything more complex for our industry.”

CIWM said that it was dismayed that the Prime Minister had used words like “diktat” and “heavy-handed” about collection reforms.

Its policy & affairs director Lee Marshall added: “It is probably a first to have a Prime Minister scrap a policy that hasn’t been implemented and was never proposed in the first place. We have since received confirmation from Defra that the policy is still progressing, but is now badged as ‘Simpler Recycling’, a name change that is not needed and has the potential to cause further confusion.

“We have gone through two detailed and lengthy consultations and CIWM members have sat on numerous working groups to help Defra ensure these policy reforms were informed, insight-led and evidence-based. It feels as if this valuable knowledge has been ridden roughshod over by No.10 and we very much hope this is not the case. Now more than ever the sector can support Government in delivering these vital resource and waste policy reforms and our insights should be valued.”