The Local Government Association has published a four-point plan which it believes would help those in the front line of waste management have a real impact on the levels of waste being sent to landfill.

At the top of the plan is the call for new discretionary powers to charge households directly for the waste they produce, creating a financial incentive to throw less away and recycle more.

It also says more should be done to discourage people from buying single-use, disposable products such as disposable nappies, asks for more funding from central Government to help councils meet recycling targets and says more needs to be done to monitor producer responsibility schemes such as WEEE and make sure it is truly the producer, and not local authorities, that ends up picking up the tab.

The plan was launched at the LGA’s Annual Recycling Conference and argues bold steps are needed if recycling rates are to rise fast enough to meet the targets of the EU’s Landfill Directive – the missing of which will result in hefty fines.

It also says that changing public attitudes and working with the private sector are as important as central Government support and emphasises the contribution supermarkets could make in reducing municipal waste.

Cllr David Sparks, chairman of the LGA Environment Board, said: “For decades people have thrown away their rubbish without worrying about the consequences.

“This can’t carry on. Like the challenge of coming to terms with global warming and climate change, the disposal of our millions of tonnes of waste presents us with an urgent need to start changing the way we live our lives.

“Supermarkets have a massive role to play in helping us meet this challenge. Millions of tonnes of unnecessary waste packaging is being thrown out which costs tax payers millions each year to throw away.

“Retailers may say that they are responding to their customers’ wishes to have goods packaged but they also have a duty to their customers to cut the amount of waste produced to help save taxpayers money, cut emissions and reduce the amount of landfill taken up by unnecessary wrapping.

“Councils must also be given the discretionary powers to help encourage people to take more responsibility for the way they throw away their rubbish. Councils need to given new powers to charge households directly for the waste they throw away.”

Sam Bond

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie