Sunday, June 19, 2011

Plans for a zero waste economy launched « Defra News
Plans to help people to do the right thing by reducing waste and increase recycling at home, on the move or as part of their business were unveiled on June 14, 2011 as the Government announced the results of its comprehensive review of waste.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said “It’s time to consign the failed policies of unfair bin taxes, bin fines and bin cuts to the dustbin of history. Families pay £120 a month in council tax. Both Whitehall and the town hall need to raise their game to deliver more frequent and better rubbish and recycling collections in return.”

The Government’s waste review sets out the following priorities:
  • Consult next year on introducing a landfill restriction on wood waste, review the case for introducing landfill bans on other materials, such as metals, textiles and all biodegradable waste. The Government will work with industry to drive innovation in reuse and recycling in these products before the start of any bans;
  • Accelerate recycling and reducing waste creation in the first place by providing incentives for householders, recycling-on-the-go schemes, better services for businesses and voluntary responsibility deals focussing on the hospitality industry, paper, direct mail, textiles, and construction waste;
  • Scrap unfair bin fines and taxes while bringing in powers to deal with repeat fly-tipping offenders and genuine nuisance neighbours;
  • Crack down on illegal fly-tippers who persistently and recklessly pollute the environment and countryside. We will introduce appropriate powers to seize vehicles, and look at penalties that might include offenders clearing up items they have dumped; and
  • Consult on increased recycling targets to 2017 for plastic, steel, aluminium and glass. Targets will be consulted on and agreed in time for the 2012 Budget;

Driving innovation in the £11 billion waste and recycling sector, which employs up to 150,000 people, is expected to push growth by three to four percent over the next few years.

Waste going to landfill has nearly halved since 2000, with household recycling rates now at 40 per cent and business rates at more than 50 per cent. But more needs to be done, which is why the Government will publish a follow-up zero-waste action plan on waste prevention in December 2013, to check progress and address further developments under any new EU regulation.

The Anaerobic Digestion strategy and action plan was also published on June 14, 2011, which will enable a thriving industry to grow in England over the next few years, delivering new green jobs as well as new green energy.

Key actions in the Government’s Anaerobic Digestion (AD) strategy and action plan include guidance on the cost and benefits of AD to developers and local authorities, evidence on the value of digestates, developing skills and training for AD operators, and highlighting ‘best practice’ projects that deliver community benefits. However, neither the AD strategy nor the waste Review dictates to local authorities the best method of organic waste collections. It is up to councils to decide if they wish to run a separate collection scheme for organic waste.

AD offers a local, environmentally sound option for waste management which helps us divert waste from landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce renewable energy which could be used to power our homes and vehicles. Farmers and gardeners can also benefit from the fertiliser produced, returning valuable nutrients to the land.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said “Letting rubbish and waste rot in landfill is madness when we can use it to power our homes and cars. We are already making it financially attractive to turn waste into electricity under the Feed-in Tariffs scheme and soon there’ll be similar incentives to generate heat too. The Anaerobic Digestion Strategy and Action Plan will help us unlock the potential to get more energy from waste to reduce emissions in the fight against climate change.”

The Government Review of Waste Policies in England 2011 is available here:

The Government’s AD strategy is available here:

The Government announced a comprehensive review of all waste policy and a Call for Evidence last year to look at what policies are needed to reduce the amount of waste generated and to maximise reuse and recycling, while also considering how waste policies affect local communities, individual households and businesses. More than 300 submissions were received.

The Coalition Agreement committed the Government to “work towards a zero waste economy and encourage councils to pay people to recycle and reduce littering” and “measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion”.

Defra’s Structural Reform Plan sets out an action to “set the path towards a ‘zero waste’ economy through review of waste policies”.

Cost-Benefit highlights of the report include the following::

  • Landfill should be the last resort for most waste, and particularly for biodegradable waste. The landfill tax – with increases maintained towards a floor of £80 per tonne in 2014/15 – will remain the key driver to divert waste from landfill and remains necessary to ensure we meet key EU targets in 2013 and 2020. As noted, we are removing the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme as we no longer consider this an effective tool to ensure delivery of the EU landfill targets.
  • The UK’s waste and recycling sector is currently valued at over £11 billion and is forecast to grow by approximately 3-4% a year for at least the next few years. The 2010 Energy & Utility Skills report estimated that the waste management and recycling industry would grow by 37% by 2020.
  • End of waste Quality Protocols make it possible for materials that are derived from waste, to be safely used (and marketed) as quality products. They help to encourage productive re-use of materials that would otherwise go to landfill.  Waste protocols provide clarity and certainty for businesses, removing layers of unnecessary regulation and supporting economic progress. The benefits from the first 12 materials alone will create an estimated £1 billion in business savings and increased sales of waste-derived products by 2020. The protocols improve environmental outcomes. By 2020, the first 12 materials should divert around 17 million tonnes of waste from landfill, preserve 14 million tonnes of raw materials and avert 2.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions.
  • UK businesses could save over £22 billion via low and no-cost resource efficiency measures.
  • Research completed by Oakdene Hollins and published by Defra in March – “The Further Benefits of Business Resource Efficiency” – identified potential annual no cost or low cost savings to business of up to £22.6 billion through greater resource efficiency, over half of which would be accounted for by reducing waste.
  • In phase 1, the Courtauld Commitment avoided £1.8 billion of food and packaging waste.
  • The annual cost of a UK deposit system was estimated in a report for the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England at £1.4bn.Of this, £944m would fall to consumers in the form of uncollected deposits. The
  • benefits relating to an increase in recycling of drinks containers are estimated as £437m, comprising savings to local authorities from avoided collection and cleaning costs, as well
  • The benefits relating to litter avoidance were estimated by Eunomia as £1.2bn a year,
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises has invested £5 million in a new plastics reprocessing plant in Lincolnshire to more than double the total amount of food-grade recycled PET produced in Great Britain. This is a ten-year deal with their partner, Eco-Plastics.
  • For households and businesses alike, throwing away food and drink that could have been eaten costs money: £12 billion of good food and drink is discarded by UK householders annually (costing the average household £480 per year), whilst waste in supply chains to retail is estimated at £5 billion annually.
  • Around 50% (8.3Mt) of all UK food waste comes from households. At least 60% of this waste is avoidable and could have been eaten at some point. Almost 25% (3.57mt) of UK food waste comes from manufacture, distribution and retail. Significant opportunity exists to prevent this waste, estimated to cost businesses £5billion annually.
United Kingdom (UK) Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
June 14, 2011

In "Spelman under fire over toothless waste review" at Jessica Shankleman wrote on June 14, 2011
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman today faced a barrage of criticism following the release of Defra's long-awaited waste review, with critics accusing the government of recycling failed policies and ignoring the need to impose ambitious new waste targets.  "We feared the review would be heavy on ambition and light on action, and unfortunately we were right," said Tom Drury, chief executive at international waste management company Shanks. "By not introducing new regulation to ensure compliance and not shortening timescales to encourage pace of change, it is unlikely to deliver the environmental and economic outcomes required to achieve the zero-waste target."  His comments were echoed by Matthew Venn, associate consultant at global environmental consultancy WSP Environment & Energy: "This review of waste policy does not appear to represent the step-change in government policy for which we had all hoped. It merely brings together a range of statements and existing policies into a single document."  The Institution of Civil Engineers urged Defra to "move out of the rhetoric and into action", arguing that the government should focus on improving the quality and quantity of recycled materials to help boost the business case for investment in recycling capacity.
However, parliamentary under-secretary Lord Henley admitted that local councils, not Defra, control the quality of recycled materials. ... Meanwhile, Matthew Farrow, Environmental Services Association director of policy, told BusinessGreen he was concerned the review had failed to deliver an ambitious crackdown on illegal waste.

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