Councils call for ‘autonomy’ over waste services under EPR

The Local Government Association (LGA) has published the results of a poll which found that councils are “six times more likely to be trusted to run recycling services than the government or industry”. 

The LGA has called on all parties to commit to EPR and ensure councils have 'autonomy' over services

And, the association has called on the government to ensure councils will “continue to have the autonomy to run waste and recycling services in a way to suits the needs of their  communities, and to ensure they receive the funding needed to deliver local waste services in good time.

The poll of 2,112 adults was undertaken between 1 – 2 November 2023 and was carried out online.

Some of the standout findings were:

  • 85% of people think companies should be required by government to reduce the amount of packaging used
  • Councils are six times more likely to be trusted to run waste and recycling services (52%) than the Government (6%) or industry (8%)
  • The public are 12 times more likely to think costs in reducing packaging should be met by companies producing it (48%) rather than councils dealing with it (4%)
  • 71% of people believe supermarkets and retailers use too much packaging. Nine in 10 (88%) believe only recyclable material should be used, and that it should have clearer labelling


Ahead of the election next year, the LGA is now calling on all political parties to pledge to introduce the extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme, which will shift the costs of dealing with waste from taxpayers on to the producers with incentives to help reduce and recycle.

The call for autonomy over waste services sees the LGA clash with some producer groups, who have been publicly lobbying for greater ownership of material and more influence on how services are delivered (see letsrecycle.com story).

It is crucial that councils continue to lead local waste and recycling services

  • Cllr Darren Rodwell, LGA

‘Public satisfaction’

Cllr Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the LGA said: “Public satisfaction with waste services remains high, it is something councils work hard to achieve and we are pleased to see the public most trust councils to lead local waste services.

“Good packaging is essential for keeping products fresh and intact, and producers are doing more to reduce waste and support recycling. But everybody can see the levels of waste, across our shop shelves, delivered to our homes, and into our bins. Councils see it every day and spend millions dealing with it.

“We support reforms for packaging taking responsibility for meeting costs and in helping further reduce and recycle packaging waste, it is crucial that the costs are met and that councils continue to lead local waste and recycling services.”

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