Re-use to count for the first time
The FRN has welcomed government changes to waste targets which allows reuse tonnages to count towards council targets. Before this change reuse, which is higher up the waste hierarchy than recycling, was excluded from council targets. This gave the majority of councils an excuse not to support re-use charities even though they produce environmental and social benefits.
Reuse has never had the recognition it deserves in its number 2 position in the Waste Hierarchy. It has often been dismissed as ‘too difficult to measure’, ‘difficult to define’ or ‘insignificant’. However all that is about to change.
The Government has just published technical guidance on the new local authority indicator set, which lays out how reuse of household materials can now be counted within the Recycling (and composting) Indicator NI 192. It is also included within NI 191 residual waste not reused, recycled or composted.
Caroline Lee-Smith, Development Officer for the FRN, said: “For the first time, from this April, local authorities have the power to count tonnages reused by the voluntary sector. This has been a major obstacle to joint working over the years, as because they couldn’t count it many of our members have been excluded from aligning their services with local authority bulky waste services. Now, including these tonnages could increase the recycling indicator by 0.1% for each average reuse organisation in an area*, higher if the organisation runs the council’s bulky waste service.”
The Department of Communities and Local Government guidance lays down 3 ways in which tonnages reused can be counted:
- Firstly, waste items in the possession of a WCA/WDA that are then sent for reuse.
- Secondly items for reuse separated by third parties on behalf of the WCA/WDA.
- Thirdly, items for which collection or disposal reuse credits are paid.
“This guidance enshrines the rights of reuse organisations to receive credits for both the collections they run, as well as the tonnage they save from disposal routes. Currently, only a quarter of local authorities in Englandcurrently pay disposal reuse credits, while none pay reasonable collection credits. I expect to see many more local authorities engaging with reuse organisations and contributing to the good work they do keeping bulky items from disposal.” Ms Lee-Smith said.
* based on an average sized organisation reusing 100 tonnes per year and a local authority total household waste figure of 100,000 tonnes.
WCA = Waste Collection Authority
WDA = Waste Disposal Authority