Waste policy still blinkered by ‘disposal mindset’

Waste policy needs to modernise the terminology it uses as it is still "caught up in the old language of disposal", leading waste contractor SITA UK has claimed.

SITA’s external affairs director Gev Eduljee has called for policy-makers to “look afresh” at the Government’s vision for the industry, which he believes is being restricted by pedestrian ways of thinking.

“We can learn something from the devolved administrations here. Any transformation is being trapped at micro level – we need to look at the bigger picture,” he maintained.

Eduljee added that the sector itself while using better language such as resource rather than waste management, it stills needs to innovate more with new processes and technologies to take advantage of higher value streams such as rare earth metals.

“Waste is still essentially a disposal operation. We need to collect waste in a more intelligent way to increase its value. We need to start intercepting materials after their production or consumption,” he said.

Eduljee said that for his company, the economics around waste were already shifting. “The old business model was driven by gate fees but now these are almost incidental. The new model will be driven by commodity prices for materials.”

Eduljee was talking at a debate on waste and the green economy held by the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group meeting in London yesterday (27 June).

Maxine Perella

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