SEP 2025 – a partnership approach to waste and recycling

SEP 2025 is an interim plan that was developed to bridge the gap between Surrey’s existing, out-of-date Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy (JMWMS) and the Government’s new measures for dealing with recycling and waste that were expected following the publication of the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) in 2018.

You can read SEP 2025 here.

Since the development and publication of SEP 2025 in 2022, the Government have announced further delays and changes to two of its key reforms in the RWS with extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging and a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers now set to go live in October 2025 (2 years later than originally planned).

Also, in October 2023, the Government finally announced its response to the consultation on consistency in collections (another key reform in the RWS) held over the spring/summer of 2021. In its response, the Government renamed this reform to Simpler Recycling and gave more direction on what would be required when it comes in from 2026-27 including that local authorities should retain the flexibility to collect recycling in the most appropriate way for their residents.

A review of SEP 2025 will be undertaken during 2024-25 to ensure it accounts for these latest developments and gives SEP an appropriate way forward for the next few years.

As well as keeping a close eye on the emerging policy reforms mentioned above, during 2023-24, SEP has reviewed other policy proposals from the Government to ensure we are informed on these matters, take action where necessary and that Government hear our collective views. This has included a review of Government consultation responses on proposed policy reforms:

• Abolishing charges for DIY waste at recycling centres with changes introduced in Surrey from 1 September 2023
• Mandatory digital waste tracking – a new online service to see what is happening to waste produced in the UK when this comes in from April 2025
• Reforming the waste carrier, broker, and dealer regime – stricter regulations from 2025 across England for those who manage and transport waste in a bid to tackle waste crime.
Partnership responses have been developed and submitted on recent Government consultations:
• Draft regulations for EPR, and Statutory Guidance and additional policies related to Simpler Recycling – essentially rules that must be followed for these reforms.
• Proposals to reform the producer responsibility system for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) with this planned to come in from 2026.