Waste industry debates its potential

Some of the biggest names in the UK waste industry gathered in the Houses of Parliament to discuss how waste can be used to combat climate change.

The Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) met at the Commons to debate the potential of resource efficiency.

Steve Lee, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Waste Management (CIWM) urged the industry to keep playing its part to reduce the impact of climate change despite the hits that the industry is taking as a result of the credit crunch.

“Our sector is ready to punch above its weight, helping us to live within our ecological means, but we need the support of everyone in this room,” he said.

He said the two big challenges to greater resource efficiency were training and skills, and encouraging behavioural change.

“Training and skills is the first victim in a downturn in the economy. But it’s a false economy,” he said.

Dirk Hazell, chief executive of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), added: “We do need to go further in demonstrating that our sector’s activities are as environmentally benign as practicable.”

Defra and Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Minister Lord Hunt told firms that it was still vital for them to be as green as possible despite the pressures the economic downturn is putting on the waste and recycling industry.

“I want to reiterate the importance of this sector to the Government, and to the economy,” he said.

“I do recognise that there are some very real challenges that you are facing at the moment.

“I want to offer as much dialogue between Government and you as possible to address these issues. I believe that there’s much we can do together.”

Kate Martin

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