Government turns attention to business waste

Although it makes up 90% of the UK's total, business and industrial waste has often played second fiddle to municipal waste when it comes to Government initiatives.

While efforts to up household recycling rates and bring down the tonnage of municipal waste sent to landfill might be two a penny, initiatives to combat the vast mountain of waste produced by private enterprise sometimes seem few and far between.

But this week Local Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw has claimed the waste produced by commerce and industry is moving up the political agenda.

Ben Bradshaw warned that business waste in all its guises must move up the corporate agenda.

“The days of dig and dump are over. Businesses must get smarter in how they handle their waste and our current consultation on England’s waste strategy underlines this point,” said the Minister.

“The impacts of our everyday consumption patterns on the environment remain severe. The inefficient use of resources can also affect business competitiveness – including small businesses.

“We need to see a revolution in smarter design of products so they are less wasteful and are easier to recycle, we need to see more businesses being more creative with what they do about their waste, and ultimately eliminating a lot of it completely. It’s about doing more with less.

“With commercial and industrial waste growing at an alarming rate, waste from these sources is moving up the political agenda: waste not just about household recycling. There has never been a more relevant time for businesses to get involved.”

The Minister’s comments were timed to coincide with Defra’s announcement of a series of pilot projects and the launch of services to help businesses get to grips with sustainable waste management.

The free services are run by the Government’s Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) programme which is funded by the landfill tax.

Among the projects and support services backed by BREW are free advice to local authorities on how to get the message out to businesses that waste matters, a university course on recycling and sustainable waste management and the mentoring of several construction companies to look at how they might improve on-site waste management.

By Sam Bond

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