Local authorities have existing powers, under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to require householders to put waste for collection, including recyclables, in specified receptacles. Where householders fail, without reasonable excuse, to follow the authority’s instructions on these matters, they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice under section 47ZA or be liable to prosecution and a summary fine upon conviction under section 46 of the Act.
Getting people to change their behaviour is a challenge, and recycling is no exception. While there are millions of dedicated recyclers, there are still too many families and people who are not engaging with local waste reduction, recycling and composting schemes.
The Government are continuing to investigate options for influencing householder behaviour, and we have recently supported a series of local authority pilots to encourage householders to reduce, re-use and recycle their waste through positive incentives.
Ultimately, if mediation doesn’t work and a householder either fails to put the correct material into the appropriate receptacle for collection, or fails to comply with other instructions with regard to putting the receptacle out for collection or bringing it back onto their property after it has been emptied, the local authority can prosecute them for breaches of section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. These offences carry a maximum fine of £1,000. In addition, the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill contains proposals for the issuing of fixed penalty notices to those breaching sections 46 and 47 of the 1990 Act.