Efra Takes Evidence In First Waste Management Enquiry Session

11-06-14(1)The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee took evidence in connection with its inquiry into waste management in England yesterday (11 June).

Witnesses included CIWM’s chief executive Steve Lee, Jacob Hayler, Economist, ESA and Phil Barton, chief executive, Keep Britain Tidy.

The first evidence session for this inquiry explored views on existing approaches to the recycling and treatment of municipal waste in England, and the impact of the reduction of Defra’s activities in municipal waste management.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) also held its third public evidence hearing on its “Growing a circular economy” inquiry.

The first evidence session for this inquiry will explore views on existing approaches to the recycling and treatment of municipal waste in England, and the impact of the reduction of Defra’s activities in municipal waste management

CIWM’s chief executive Steve Lee also gave evidence at this enquiry, along with Phil Barton, Keep Britain Tidy, Nick Brown, Coca Cola Enterprises, Dominic Hogg, Eunomia research and consulting, Councillor Clyde Loakes, Local Government Association.

The Committee explored whether it is possible to de-couple economic growth from natural resource use and the role that household recycling and the waste management sector plays in the circular economy.

CIWM’s Efra Evidence

Steve Lee represented the views of CIWM and its members in the Efra enquiry’s first evidence session, pushing for both joint enquiries that span the remits of several departments and for future inquiries look at the management of resources – involving wastes from all sources including industrial & commercial and construction & demolition wastes as well as MSW recycling, which the inquiry is strongly focussed on.

The EU Commission estimates that better waste and resources management in Europe could contribute an additional three percent to GDP. In CIWM’s evidence to the current Environment Audit Committee inquiry into development of a circular economy, the Institution has estimated this would be worth at least £60bn in this country, possibly more.

Infrastructure

Variable definitions and recording standards of waste across Europe make direct comparison between member states’ performance either difficult or misleading, exacerbated by poor quality, partial and sporadic collection of commercial & industrial waste data in particular.

CIWM published a report in October 2013 exploring the issues surrounding industrial and commercial waste data, forecasting and infrastructure provision, which concluded that there is likely to be a shortfall in industrial and commercial waste treatment capacity in this country developing between now and 2020.

The Institution believes this will further drive exports of recyclates and waste derived fuels, which in turn will undermine further infrastructure investment.

Data

CIWM advises that Governments should seriously consider making the use of the Electronic Duty of Care data system (edoc) mandatory.

In the face of poor data and forecasting of wastes produced and how they are managed, UK governments need to co-operate in development of the Waste Duty of Care and the data collected through it.

CIWM advises that Governments should seriously consider making the use of the Electronic Duty of Care data system (edoc) mandatory.

CIWM also believes that Government needs to argue for common and effective data gathering and reporting for this industry across Europe. Without this, policy development and delivery of services and infrastructure outside of MSW (possibly only 10 percent of all wastes) is seriously hampered.

2020 Recycling Targets

CIWM members warn that the EU Waste Framework Directive recycling target of MSW (50 percent by 2020) will be difficult to meet in England.

Resource constraints on local authorities, poorly co-ordinated and sometimes antagonistic departmental policies and interventions, and a lack of sustained and co-ordinated communications to develop public and business engagement are all contributing factors to this conclusion.

MSW recycling in England has reached just over 43 percent but is flat-lining.

CIWM is exploring the reasons why with its members but also warns that changes to regulations later this year regarding material recovery facilities and the separated collection of wastes, coupled with tight biowaste recycling standards and other exclusions from the definition of recycling may drive reported English recycling for MSW backwards for the first time since before the turn of the century.

CIWM’s EAC Response

With regards to the EAC’s enquiry into the circular economy, CIWM will emphasise that elements of a circular economy have always existed, including recycling and resource-efficient design, but much ground was lost in a post-war period of unparalleled prosperity and low resource cost (energy, water, food, materials) in the developed world.

Questions asked at the enquiry focussed on the potential economic value of resources contained in waste, the environmental benefits of the circular economy, designing for re-use and potential barriers to the circular economy.

CIWM says that businesses are already recognising circular economy advantages, and that this needs to be matched by government action.

CIWM says that businesses are already recognising circular economy advantages, and that this needs to be matched by government action.

It was urged that government show leadership through championing circular economy development across government departments and through intervention where necessary. CIWM also urged government to support local government in its communications with business and the public, strategic planning for resources in and between their areas and their own procurement and service delivery.

Championing issues at a European level where action at an English or UK level would be ineffective or inappropriate is another point CIWM pushed. This could include raw material, taxes, variable VAT for primary and secondary materials, common standards for measurement and reporting between member states and a move away from simplistic targets such as percentage recycling by weight which often reflects high consumption as much as it does resource efficiency.

 

The CIWM and ESA conference next week (18-19 June) will cover a lot of the issues presented in the Efra and EAC enquiries. To be a part of the debate book your place here 

 

Send this to a friend