CIWEM: Resources and Waste Strategy Must Revolutionise our Relationship with Materials
29 October 2018
Single-use plastics epitomise the nature of our wasteful ways at the moment. But there is so much more which could and should be readily designed for reuse and better recycling.
Straws, cotton buds and stirrers are the publicly visible tip of the iceberg.
Last week’s consultation on banning distribution and sale of such plastic items, like proposals for a deposit return scheme on bottles and the successful plastic bag charge just scratch the surface.
The UK’s performance on materials efficiency, waste minimisation and recycling is lagging behind many of our competitors.
With a Resources and Waste Strategy born of Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan imminent, now is the opportunity to move the UK away from exporting poor quality waste to a highly efficient, circular economy by the 2040s.
The Resources and Waste Strategy is expected to follow closely behind the Chancellor’s budget this week. It will be driven by a whole range of factors: Blue Planet II, the rapid shrinking of waste export markets and Government’s Industrial, Green Growth and 25 Year Environment Plans.
CIWEM (The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) is proposing five vital areas where we believe Government should drive business and the public to become more efficient and waste less:
- A systems-based approach which uses big data to measure and refine material use and flows throughout the whole life-cycle of products.
- Strong, coordinated policy post-Brexit as the UK takes control of its waste targets. For a resource efficient UK, multiple departments including BEIS and MHCLG as well as Defra will need to work collectively.
- Reforming the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system which currently lets packaging producers export waste packaging for recycling overseas with little transparency over its actual fate.
- Far wider application of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), making manufacturers of products responsible for dealing with waste associated with them.
- New, more ambitious recycling targets allied to clearer household recycling labelling and collection to improve on poor, and stalled recycling performance.
Senior Policy Advisor at CIWEM, Heather Gardner, said “The new Resources and Waste Strategy is a unique opportunity to change the way that we consider sustainable resource use in the UK, and we look forward to an innovative and ambitious Strategy from the Government to drive this forward”.
A news release from CIWEM (the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management).
CIWEM are licensed by the Society for the Environment to award its members with the Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) professional registration.