The ex-Springwatch presenter said the sector must undergo a rebranding exercise if it is to widen its appeal and shake off waste’s negative connotations.

In an exclusive interview with edieWaste, Humble – a committed environmentalist – said that despite advances in modern resource management, waste “does get a bad name for itself”.

“I think the waste industry really needs to be more proud of what it does … of the fact its taking what the public considers waste and turning it into something useful,” she said.

Furniture reuse or biofuel production from plastics were great examples which could be held up as innovations, she added.

“If you have something called waste or fuel, well what’s going to be the most appealing? Obviously fuel. The industry needs to start telling the public that what they are throwing in the bin has something of value.”

According to Humble, part of the problem is society’s throwaway culture.

“We have become used to everything being disposable. You go to the developing world and people fix things or reuse things, there’s very little that is considered rubbish.

“It’s the great scourge of modern and western society that we often find it more expensive to get something fixed than to throw it away and buy something new.”

Humble was speaking shortly before she officially opened the UK’s first innercity integrated waste management facility in Southwark, South London, yesterday (April 16).

The facility – comprising a materials recovery facility (MRF) and mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant – is the result of a PFI project between Southwark Council and Veolia Environmental Services. More details will follow on the launch shortly.

Our interview with Kate Humble can be listened to in full below:

Maxine Perella

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