Recycling and waste management company, FCC Environment has launched a new report, ‘Mapping the Politics of Waste’, which examines the legislative changes and key challenges facing the waste and recycling sector, such as net zero and waste crime.
The report also sets out the opportunities for the industry in the run up to the 2024 General Election, FCC says.
Commenting on the report, FCC Environment’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Taylor said: “The next few years promise to be turbulent for the sector.
The next few years promise to be turbulent for the sector
“New legislation that will fundamentally impact on how we work coupled with the race to net zero and adapting to a post Covid-19 world, will present many challenges for us.
“Whatever Britain’s political future, I am confident that the waste and recycling sector can be instrumental in helping the UK achieve its goals and get back on its feet.
“Legislative and economic drivers will be required to help drive investment in new infrastructure and market growth, but over-regulation could be damaging to competition and the long-term viability of the sector.”
The race to net zero
As Government seeks to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 78 percent by 2035, the race to net zero is a key priority of this Parliament.
While the waste and resources sector has almost halved its carbon emissions since 2008, it still contributes four percent of UK greenhouse gasses. Unless the sector does more, calls for further decarbonisation will gain traction.
According to the report, a significant challenge for the sector will be to make sure that it is seen as being part of the solution, actively seeking ways to reduce and offset its carbon emissions.
FCC Environment believes that effective communication and engagement will be vital to supporting consumer behavioural changes that encourage more effective recycling and drive down residual waste.
The Environment Bill
This Environment Bill holds significant symbolic value to the Government as a trailblazing piece of legislation designed to help the UK forge its own path separate of the EU and as a global leader. Despite the Bill’s significance, its passage through Parliament has been beset with delays.
FCC Environment’s report raises questions around Parliament’s ability to properly scrutinise the Bill and make it law before COP26 in November, as well as concerns around the sector’s ability to prepare for any new practices that it is required to meet, meaning that the sector must come to terms with additional measures in a relatively short time frame.
Adapting to a post Covid-19 world
The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it unforeseeable challenges for the sector. However, through collaboration and dedication from those on the frontline, kerbside collections continued, and household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) were only closed for a short period.
The report acknowledges that there are questions that remain unanswered, especially around whether industrial and commercial waste will return to pre-pandemic levels, with business reviewing office space and the requirement for staff to work in the office.
FCC Environment sets out what it sees as key opportunities for the sector in a post-Covid-19 world, notably waste and resource management companies playing their part in helping to ‘Build Back Better’.