Firm targets left out of Defra’s Waste Prevention Programme
Defra has unveiled its long-awaited Waste Prevention Programme with the aim of supporting a resource efficient economy but have set no firm targets.
The Programme ways in which businesses and householders can make savings by cutting waste, managing resources better and passing on items they no longer want for others to use.
Research shows that businesses can make £18 billion in annual savings by taking simple steps to produce less waste. Reusing products such as household appliances and furniture could save households £1 billion each year and help create jobs.
As part of the new Programme, a new Sustainable Electrical Action Plan will be developed to encourage businesses to design products to last longer.
A new £800,000 Community Partnership Fund will also be made available to help local authorities, business and civil society organisations take action on waste prevention. In addition, a new postcode locator will help people find out where they can get things repaired or pass on things for others to buy.
Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: “Preventing waste from being produced in the first place is not only good for the environment, but for the economy and household budgets too.
“That’s why we are making it easier for people to find out where they can get things repaired or pass on things they no longer use.
“Everyone has a role to play in reducing waste and I want to see businesses helping consumers and the environment by designing products to last longer and using resources better.”
According to Defra, there are a range of steps that the government has already taken to help reduce waste, such as the Love Waste Hate Waste campaign, which helps people reduce the amount of food waste they produce, while the Courtauld Commitment helps companies reduce the amount of packaging they use.
The Waste Prevention programme builds on the success of these initiatives, encouraging and supporting action by businesses and consumers to benefit from waste prevention.
Industry experts have expressed disappointment over Defra’s Waste Prevention Programme.
Criticising the Programme, Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “The Resource Association is disappointed but unsurprised at the lack of an overall target for waste prevention in England and wonders how easily this sits alongside the specific targets set separately by governments in Scotland and Wales.
“I welcome the Minister’s acknowledgement that community groups have often been innovators in waste and recycling and so welcome the £800,000 scheme for innovation in communities on waste prevention. I asked the Minister to exercise vigilance in ensuring this modest sum is well spent and not lost in agency administration costs. My view is that this scheme could be effectively managed by one of the third sector support organisations and would send a good signal about future support for the sector.”
Keep Britain Tidy also expressed disappointment. Evidence and policy manager Tim Burns added: “England is often quoted as leading the way on waste and resource issues in Europe but we have seen this leadership rapidly erode since the Coalition Government took power.
“While the waste hierarchy has been enshrined in UK law, England has neglected its duties to follow it. The publication of a waste prevention programme gave an opportunity for England to demonstrate commitment to more sustainable economy. Instead it chose to discard waste prevention and instead set England on course for greater waste generation.