Lords look at ways to reduce waste

The often-overlooked top tier of the waste hierarchy - reduction - received attention from the Lords this week.

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee met to hear evidence from Defra, BERR and DIUS on how products and the production process can be made more sustainable to help reduce the waste created by households and businesses.

The committee considered how design and the use of alternative materials could reduce waste and the influence of environmental issues on the choices being made by producers.

It also looked at how better designed products might offset rising levels of consumption and therefore tackle the growth in waste produced by an increasingly affluent society.

The role of legislation and regulation, and how Government might build on this, was also taken into consideration.

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan, chairman of the Science and Technology Sub-Committee on Waste Reduction, said: "Reducing the amount of waste we produce is now a priority for local and national government as well as the EU. However the focus has often been on changing the way we dispose of our rubbish rather than attempting to tackle the problem further up the production cycle.

"Our inquiry will explore how production processes can be changed, and materials selected more carefully to ensure far less waste is produced in the first place.

"We have received some excellent written evidence and will be hearing from a wide range of witnesses as the inquiry progresses. This first evidence session, with three government departments, should help us find out exactly what the Government proposes to do about the UK's waste problem."

Sam Bond



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