You are here: Home / News / Importance of waste and recycling data highlighted at conference

Importance of waste and recycling data highlighted at conference

The 2020 LARAC Conference highlighted the importance of data in allocation for future funding of Local Councils and Extended Producer Responsibility.

During the virtual 2020 LARAC Conference held this month Chris Mills, Special Advisor for Collections and Recycling at WRAP, explained the importance of data in allocating appropriate funding for Local Councils under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

“Collection costs are complex, but if we are really trying to get to grips with how much consistent collections will cost and what the performance differences are, we have to make some big improvements in data and the analysis of that,” he explained.

The second round of consultations on waste and resources legislation is expected early 2021, after several delays. Many concerns were highlighted in the initial consultation around the measurement of ‘full net costs’ being paid by packaging producers.

One of the four reform areas to be undertaken under the changing waste and resources legislation is the consistency of collections, which will include new materials for councils to collect kerbside. Even with 15 years of experience of modelling with Local Authorities, Mr Mills expressed concern that the data is not detailed enough to predict how much more this would cost.

Criticism has been raised over the transparency of data within the current packaging regulations, which will have to improve under any of the proposed EPR changes. With EPR requiring packaging producers to pay for the collection, sorting and treatment of packaging placed on the UK market, costs of compliance will increase and will, in some form, be allocated to local authorities. The most effective way for this to be appropriately calculated is through more rigorous data being collected.

Jimmy Dorrell, Head of Sustainable Business at Clarity, is keen to see more data reporting throughout the waste sector.

“It is encouraging to see advocates for increasing the scope of data captured through the waste stream. The waste industry will need to prepare for this with the coming legislative changes, as it is essential to have as much information to improve and meet the recycling targets going forward.

“The depth and detail of the data must be collected through the waste stream if we are to ensure the changes in legislation improve the effectiveness of the waste and resources sector as a whole. From producers, reprocessors, exporters, councils and waste services, every player has a part in ensuring we can clearly see the journey of our waste. This will ensure that targets, pricing, packaging design, modulated fees, sorting and treatment can all be understood and applied appropriately.”

Related News & Views