Speaking at a keynote seminar in Westminster this morning, Defra’s director of waste, Neil Thornton, confirmed that the review – due to be announced by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman next week – will have a waste prevention plan attached to it.

He said: “[Waste prevention] is going to be very important. We need to put a lot of strength and weight behind it.”

Thornton remained tight-lipped about what the rest of the review would contain, but said he felt “more and more confident” that the final document would be received favourably by industry pundits.

Echoing Thornton’s comments, ERM’s waste lead Simon Aumônier said waste prevention was now a “top priority”, but that decision-making needed to be more informed on this topic.

He told delegates that adopting a prevention policy would have significant implications for the sector and that the carbon benefits needed to be carefully balanced against downstream impacts such as availability of materials for energy recovery or recycling.

“There is quite a way to go before we get traction and understanding around waste prevention. We need to work out what the benefits are and what specific products and materials we should target,” he said.

The Government’s anaerobic digestion strategy is also expected to be launched alongside the Waste Review announcement, which is scheduled to take place on the 14 June at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management’s annual conference in London.

Maxine Perella

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