Following the release of the National Infrastructure Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment report this morning, CIWM has stated that it “sets a welcome challenge” for the Government on resource and waste management.
The National Infrastructure Commission published its first ever National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) earlier today, setting out a number of recommendations to Government under the general heading of “incinerating less, recycling more”, including setting a target for recycling 65% of municipal waste and 75% of plastic packaging by 2030, with individual targets for all local authorities and financial support for transitional costs.
It also set out plans to establish:
- Clear two symbol labelling (recyclable or not recyclable) across the UK by 2022.
- A consistent national standard of recycling for households and businesses by 2025.
- Restrictions on the use of hard-to-recycle plastic packaging (PVC and polystyrene) by 2025.
- Incentives to reduce packaging and for product design that is more easily recyclable by 2022.
- A common data reporting framework for businesses handling commercial and industrial waste by the end of 2019, ideally through voluntary reporting but if necessary by legislation.
Commenting on the NIA, CIWM’s chief executive Dr Colin Church said: “Over the past couple of years or so, CIWM and others in the sector have been working hard with the NIC to help them understand resource and waste management, the challenges it faces and the opportunities it offers. It is therefore particularly good to see key points we have been making reflected here. If the Governments in England (and, where appropriate, across the UK) take up these recommendations, that will represent significant progress towards a more resource efficient and circular economy.
“The work on infrastructure design is also interesting, and CIWM has already been making the case to the NIC that this needs take full account of end of use and end of life as well as aesthetic and and usability concerns during use.
“I particularly note the comment that ‘England should not settle for the minimum standards set out in EU legislation but should seek to be amongst the best performers, learning from the example set by Wales’. This is a welcome challenge to the Government on resource and waste management, one that the whole sector will be hoping it takes up in its Resource and Waste Strategy later this year.”
The first organisation to add comment on the NIA was SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, whose CEO, David Palmer-Jones, said: “It is in everyone’s interest to cut the amount of rubbish we produce and the NIC rightly determines that more should be done to recycle and remove plastics from energy from waste, but this should be done at the design stage through strong policies that favour better design, recycling, re-use an minimisation. These policies would signal the government’s ambition to the market and unlock the billions of investment required to make the most of our waste.
The NIC findings support a golden triangle of: reducing waste; upping recycling rates from what we make and consume; and finally recovering the energy via electricity production from the essential energy-from-waste plants that treat all the residual, non-recyclable, waste that will continue to be discarded – instead of burying it in landfill.
At a time when energy-from-waste infrastructure is drastically lacking capacity in some areas of the country – most notably in the South East – SUEZ welcomes the findings of the National Infrastructure Assessment and its acknowledgement that the nation is short of this vital transitional technology to treat the rubbish that cannot be viably recycled.
SUEZ supports the NIC’s call for separate food waste collections, although only where practical and economically viable, as this will saturate existing anaerobic digestion infrastructure and result in cleaner, less contaminated, recyclable materials.”