Defra Waste Prevention Plan call for evidence due early 2013

Defra has confirmed it will launch a "call for evidence" early next year to inform policy direction on the forthcoming Waste Prevention Programme for England.

The programme, which Defra expects to publish by the end of 2013, will consider which product categories and waste streams represent key areas for action in terms of prevention and reduction.

Defra’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Richard Benyon made the announcement in a House of Commons statement yesterday, but would not be drawn on what particular streams might be likely contenders.

Green MP Caroline Lucas specifically requested what action the programme would take on nappy waste, and if it would encourage opportunities for reusable diapers.

In a written response, Benyon replied: “The Government do not take a specific policy position on nappy waste. However, landfill should be the last resort for biodegradable waste and the landfill tax remains the key driver to divert waste from landfill.”

He added: “There are interventions under way to divert disposable nappies from landfill; for example, last year the first nappy recycling facility opened in the West Midlands.”

Earlier this summer former Recycling Minister Lord Taylor said that waste prevention would be a key focus for the Government over the next 12 months as it looks to concentrate its efforts further up the waste hierarchy.

An area the programme is almost certain to prioritise is food waste. One possibility is that it will set out a series of actions to encourage the waste sector to work more closely with organisations, businesses and local communities to implement stronger minimisation measures.

At the time, Lord Taylor said: “It’s not just about tackling food waste, more can be done with those who supply the food.

“We will be encouraging companies to send less food waste to landfill and will be working with charities and food manufacturers to remove barriers to food donation.”

Maxine Perella

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