Businesses must fight the ‘Primark Effect’

Frivolous business practices are encouraged by a government with no clear vision on recycling, according to an influential group of MPs.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee says the Government’s knowledge of recycling rates is ‘patchy and outdated’ and calls for set targets.

In its report, released today (January 19), titled Waste Strategy for England 2007 the committee calls for improved recycling across the country.

The report attacks the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) Waste Strategy as too focused on domestic recycling which only accounts for 10% of England’s waste, the committee says.

Launching the report chairman of the cross-party committee, Michael Jack MP, said: “Defra must give a clear lead on what it thinks the potential is for business to reduce its waste levels and increase its rates of recycling.

“At the same time it must encourage companies to take a completely new view of waste and see it as a valuable source of raw material which must not be squandered in these difficult economic times.

“Defra’s 2007 Strategy and its follow up reports are long on rhetoric but short on a detailed action plan to deliver a low waste society.”

Mr Jack went on to say this problem must be addressed if we are to ‘seriously’ reduce the 330m tonnes of materials we throw away each.

However, the committee’s report did praises householder for increasing their recycling levels to nearly 37% and urges the Government to set tougher recycling targets of 50% by 2015 and 60% by 2020.

Mr Jack added: “To help end the so-called ‘Primark Effect’, which has resulted in significant increases in the amount of clothing being sent to landfill sites.

“Defra should consult manufacturers to develop standards and criteria for assessing the overall environmental impacts of different kinds of textiles so that more sustainable materials can be promoted.”

Luke Walsh

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