Government's 'weak' waste policy is putting manufacturers at risk
The Government must develop a more ambitious waste strategy if it is to secure future supply of crucial materials to British manufacturing operations.
That is the message from EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, in its review of the Government's waste strategy, the findings of which are released today (January 9). It says policy isn't going far enough - with out of date legislation, limited access to waste facilities and a looming resource crunch.
The EEF warns that a shortage of materials is now the biggest threat to manufacturers and says the government needs to work with industry to develop a resource strategy that will enable materials, particularly those in scare supply, to be reused and to speed up their movement across the economy.
Such a strategy, it argues, would make it easier for companies to make the most out of the waste they and others produce and reduce the nation's dependence on imports. A survey it carried out amongst senior manufacturing leaders found that 80% now regard a shortage of raw materials as a risk to their business.
Of these, two thirds said it was their top risk. In addition, one in six companies said that a shortage of raw materials is now a brake on growth.
EEF says it would like to see a new approach to legislation, one in which all companies should have access to local authority recycling facilities, regardless of where they are based.
It further argues that the Government's recently published waste services commitment for businesses, which is a voluntary code, should be made mandatory and made part of national policy.
Commenting on the review findings, EEF's head of climate & environment, Gareth Stace, said: "Waste policy has for some time been the forgotten element of the green agenda. But, with global demand for resources expected to soar in the future and manufacturers already rating raw material shortages as their biggest risk, we must not miss the opportunity to make the best of what we have.
"Government policy has gone some way towards recognising these risks, but to date it has not gone far enough. We now need a more ambitious approach."