Waste Strategy responses published

Defra has published the wide range of responses to its proposed Waste Strategy Review which include requests for reduced regulation and for more schemes to promote recycling until it becomes second nature.

The department received more than 4,000 responses from individuals and organisations interested in having their say on the document which will shape the future of waste policy in England and Wales.

Consultation on the review closed in May and pulled together the many threads of current thinking on waste reduction and recycling of materials.

While much of the response revolved around the issue of energy from waste – seen by Government as a vital component of future any strategy which will divert large amounts of waste away from landfill – there was also plenty of comment on more sensible design of consumer products and focusing more attention on commercial and industrial waste rather than pouring disproportionate resources into municipal waste.

The consultation appears to have thrown up few surprises, with response calling for:

  • Tackling the problem at the source, by taking waste into account at the design stage and encourage industry to manufacture less wasteful goods by increasing producer responsibility for waste.

  • Recovering more resources from business waste with new targets to reduce landfilled commercial and industrial waste, more help for small businesses to reduce and recycle their waste, and a more joined up approach in managing waste from different sources.

  • Simplifying regulation to make it more proportionate through reforms to the permitting and exemption systems, better guidance and communication, and more targeted risk-based enforcement.

  • Strengthened and targeted enforcement to tackle waste crimes from flytipping to illegal exports to prevent legitimate businesses from being undermined by free-riders.

  • Developing a recycling culture by shifting our thinking so that recycling resources becomes part of our everyday activities whether at home, at work or during leisure.

  • Making proper use of new investment to recover energy from waste as an alternative to landfill, but not at the expense of practical waste prevention and recycling, by seeing a more modest growth than original estimates.

    Waste Strategy 2000 set a target for 67% recovery of waste by 2015 by recycling, composting, energy from waste (incineration, pyrolysis and gasification) and digestion with at least 33% composting and recycling.

    The new strategy proposes the same overall target of 67% recovery target in 2015 but with much higher levels (45%) of recycling and composting.

    Details of the feedback can be found on Defra’s website.

    Sam Bond

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