The Environment Act: Changes to waste and recycling

The Environment Act became Law in November 2021. It contains a variety of targets, plans and policies for improving our natural environment that will affect local authorities nationwide.

This means that, over the next few years, there will be major changes to waste and recycling services in Sheffield. These changes will impact businesses who manufacture goods and place packaging onto the market. And they will affect residents, who will determine how successful these policies are in the choices they make when buying, reusing and recycling products.

The proposed changes and their implementation dates are:

Consistent collections

The type of material you recycle at home will change. Currently you can recycle paper and cardboard (blue bins) and glass, cans, and plastic bottles (brown bins).

The proposed changes will mean that you will also be able to recycle:

  • food waste (separate weekly collections)
  • plastic pots, tubs and trays
  • aerosols
  • cartons
  • plastic film

The government is expected to confirm in 2022 when home recycling will be expanded. We're committed to improving our recycling services and we are preparing to introduce these new services. 

A 12 week food waste recycling collection trial will take place between August and November. 8,200 households from 4 areas across Sheffield have been selected to take part in the trial. They will receive a kitchen caddy, outside food waste bin and a roll of liners. The trial will help us to provide the best possible service when a permanent, citywide food waste recycling service is introduced in the future.

Waste prevention

The best form of waste management is to reduce how much waste is created. Rather than being made as single use, products will be designed to be repaired, re-used and recycled at the end of their life. The reuse and repair of items should become a default behaviour. This will be supported through improved product design and the increased availability of reuse and repair facilities.

7 key sectors that have the most significant waste production and carbon impact will be focused on. These are: construction, food, plastic packaging, vehicles, furniture, electronics and textiles.

We will support increased waste prevention by:

  • increasing awareness and understanding waste prevention when buying products
  • increasing the reuse of waste collected as bulky waste or at household waste recycling centres   
  • signposting to product takeback and collection services

Deposit Return Scheme

A Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) means that when you buy a drink (in a can or plastic bottle, possibly a glass bottle) a deposit will be added to the price of the drink. When you return a can or bottle to a collection point you will get the deposit back. The aim of the scheme is to increase recycling and decrease littering. The government have said this could be introduced as early as 2024.

Extended producer responsibility

Manufacturers will be required to pay fees based on how recyclable their products are. They will be incentivised to reduce packaging and where packaging is needed will make sure it is reusable or recyclable.

The aim of extended producer responsibility is to reduce waste, increase recycling and ensure manufacturers pay the disposal and recycling costs of their products. The proposed implementation date is 2024.

South Yorkshire waste strategy

South Yorkshire's local authorities in Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham jointly developed the South Yorkshire Municipal Waste Strategy in 2017. This sets out our approach to waste management for the region for 2017 to 2021. The development of a new waste strategy has been delayed until the government has confirmed when the changes will take place.

Contact Waste Management

5th Floor (North)
Howden House
1 Union Street
S1 2SH

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