Government must revamp waste strategy

28th September 2011


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  • Manufacturing ,
  • UK government ,
  • Recycling ,
  • Minimisation ,
  • Disposal

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IEMA

Better waste management infrastructure and simplified legislation are needed if UK manufacturers are to continue to cut waste, warns the EEF.

In a report published to coincide with the introduction of the new waste hierarchy, the manufacturing body argues that the sector’s ability to improve waste management is being hampered by barriers, including difficulty in accessing local authority recycling services.

The manufacturing body criticises the government for failing to take any tangible actions following Defra’s review of waste policy published in June and says that without better guidance and support the sector cannot begin to make the £23 billion of efficiency savings the environment department claims is possible.

Key actions outlined in the EEF report include the publication of the long-awaited definition of waste, simplification of regulation and support for the expansion of local authority waste infrastructure and firms’ access to them.

The EEF also calls on Defra to make good on its commitment to help improve consumer confidence in the reliability of re-used products, which remains low, and to help support markets for recycled and recovered materials.

“Manufacturers have already taken significant action as they have long recognised that it makes good business sense to cut out waste from their operations… [but] industry can only make further progress if government unlocks barriers created by lack of investment in infrastructure,” said Gareth Stace, EEF’s head of climate change and environment. “Now is the time for government to make a big leap forward and shake up this stagnant area of policy.”

“Regulatory burdens need to be eased where possible and government needs to raise the profile of waste as an issue,” he continued. “Often perceived barriers hinder progress, therefore better information on permit requirements can unlock potential solutions.”

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) welcomed the report agreeing that more needed to be done to help the waste sector improve its infrastructure.

“There needs to be a planning and investment framework that enables our industry to deliver the £10-20 billion of new infrastructure needed to divert waste out of landfill and back into productive use,” said communications officer, Rid Hollands.

The ESA also shares the EEF’s desire for user-friendly regulations for producers, but warned that this must not undermine environmental protection.

Defra refused to comment on the EEF’s calls for action but responded to the report saying the plans outlined in the waste review would help the country to move to a zero-waste economy.

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