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Resources and Waste Strategy launched at the Southwark recycling facility

Westminster City Council Commercial Waste Services’ key recycling plant hosts Government launch

recycling performanceToday (18th December 2018) at the materials recovery facility (MRF) where Westminster City Council’s mixed recycling is processed, the Southwark Integrated Waste Management Facility, operated by partner Veolia, Central Government launched a much-awaited strategy for tackling key waste issues over the coming years. Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, visited the facility as one of the most advanced sorting facilities in Europe, and a prime example of the resources that the Government want to see created in order to tackle growing public concerns around waste and recycling. 

The new Resources and Waste Strategy is the first comprehensive waste management plan in more than a decade. It aims to leave the environment in a better state than we found it for future generations. Michael Gove said:

“Our strategy sets out how we will go further and faster, to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Together we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource.

“We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste.

“Through this plan we will cement our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, leaving our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

The Strategy lays a strong emphasis on manufacturers to do more to ensure that packaging is more easily recyclable and to get rid of as much ‘single-use’ plastic as possible. Businesses will also be required to contribute more to the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste.

Other examples of how the Resources and Waste Strategy might impact on businesses will be: 

  • More focus on preventing food waste and capturing it for biological treatment 
  • Introduce a consistent set of recyclable materials collected from all businesses (preferably segregated to ensure a high quality) and consistent labelling on packaging so consumers know what they can recycle, to drive-up recycling rates.
  • Clamp-down on illegal movements of waste at home and abroad by introducing compulsory electronic tracking of waste, and tougher penalties for rogue waste crime operators if they mislabel their waste to dodge tax rules.

Reasons to support the new strategy

There are many aspects of the new strategy which focus on managing waste from businesses better that we welcome including:

  • Encouraging better waste management and more recycling from businesses
  • An increased focus on food waste; reducing it in the first place and making use of it to create energy and fertilisers for agriculture
  • Reducing waste by limiting excess packaging and unrecyclable materials as well as ensuring recycled content is used instead of virgin materials 
  • Restricting the export of low-quality materials to countries with lower environmental standards, which is likely to be environmentally damaging
  • Reviewing and overhauling the inefficient, low performing, and fragmented commercial waste set up across the UK and Central London specifically
  • Driving greater efficiency of Energy from Waste (EFW) plants (which treat unrecyclable – general – waste) by encouraging the use of the heat the plants produce

Read more

You can read the Government’s announcement by clicking here

You can read the full Strategy document by clicking here.