The Government is urging businesses to take more action on waste as business and industrial waste issues move up the political agenda. Speaking as DEFRA announced a new programme aimed at helping businesses manage resources and wastage, local environmental quality minister Ben Bradshaw said: “The days of dig and dump are over. Businesses must get smarter in how they handle their waste and our consultation on England’s waste strategy underlines this point.”

The BREW programme, now in its second year, aims to reduce the amount of business waste being sent to landfill and encourage the use of waste as a resource. Currently, for every tonne of household waste produced, a further 10 tonnes of commercial and industrial waste is produced. DEFRA modelling suggests that commercial waste is likely to grow from 2002 levels by 13% by 2010, 33% by 2015 and 52% by 2020.

As part of the new programme, DEFRA has agreed to fund a series of pilots, business support services to help businesses reduce waste. These will include: gathering an evidence base establishing the potential of remanufactured goods; the setting up of a five- to 10-year plan to help the construction industry approach resource efficiency; and the development of sector specific environmental management systems with 20 companies across three trade associations.

Mentoring up North

Other schemes will include a construction mentoring programme in the North-east to develop and implement site waste management plans plus a Compost doctor scheme that will help caterers compost kitchen waste. A diagnostic tool to help identify SMEs that could benefit from BREW-funded programmes will also be developed and rolled out to business links in the South-east.

A voluntary water performance information labelling system for business is to be developed, consulted upon and introduced by the market transformation programme. And Middlesex University will develop an on-line waste ‘hub’ certificate and training for managers and SMEs among businesses in three pilot regions.

Bradshaw added: “We need to see a revolution in smarter design of products so they are less wasteful and easier to recycle. We need to see more businesses being creative with what they do about their waste, and eliminating a lot of it completely.”

Cash boost for collaborative

DEFRA has awarded £500,000 to a collaborative initiative designed to help businesses tackle the ever-growing mountain of commercial waste. Overseeing the initiative are three organisations – the Local Government Association (LGA), National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) and Oxfordshire County Council.

The cash will fund pilot programmes across 10 English local authorities to help them reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, CO2 emissions, and make more efficient use of the materials, water and energy they produce.

The pilot projects will aim to improve the direct role of LAs in offering separate collection of recyclable materials to trade waste customers, and the use of civic amenity sites in offering ‘bring’ facilities for traders.

Other aims include improving the support given to business through local business partnerships (LBPs) to enhance environmental performance and give more help to businesses affected by landfill tax increases or new regulations. Procurement to support sustainable outcomes such as energy or water or buying recycled are also a priority.

The scheme aims to create the right environment for private sector investment in building waste management/materials processing facilities. This might be achieved by setting aside land or eco-parks, or actively encouraging the right kind of business to the area.

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