The Resource Association has today (31 March) released a set of policy proposals focused on the forthcoming UK General Election, urging politicians to be “be bold and seize the prize of resources, jobs and growth is a circular economy”.
The proposals, entitled Manifesto for Resources 2015 set out a fresh and ambitious vision for resource management and the circular economy. They were approved by a meeting of the Association’s Board and Members recently held in Belfast on 10 March.
The proposals suggest a package of measures the Association considers to be a comprehensive strategy that could be delivered by the incoming Government.
Ray Georgeson, Resources Association – “We challenge them all to be bold and seize the prize of resources, jobs and growth in a circular economy”
The Association says the time is right for a fresh impetus on resources policy, and says this can best be delivered by an underpinning Resource Management and Circular Economy Act, which has several building blocks for an intelligent, data-led resources strategy that sends clear signals to industry and investors that the UK is taking a long-term approach to issues of resource security, scarcity and efficiency and the building of the circular economy.
The six key elements of a proposed Act are:
- Establishment on a statutory basis of an Office of Resource Management, in line with the recommendations of the Materials Security Working Group (of which we are a member)
- Establishment of a statutory duty on businesses to collect and submit data on waste and resource use, placed on the licenced and regulated businesses that provide waste and resources collections
- Introduction of a ban on biodegradable waste to landfill with a duty to provide food waste collections accessible to every household by 2020
- Introduction of a requirement for businesses to separately collect key recyclables (paper, glass, metals, plastics) and food waste from their premises (as already introduced by the Scottish Government)
- Establishment of a statutory duty for local authorities to publish an End Destination Register for Waste and Recyclate, and extend the duty to contractors to provide the necessary data
- Establishment of a ban on the collection of glass commingled with other recyclates.
The Manifesto for Resources 2015 goes beyond the core proposals suggested for a new Act of Parliament, and lists several important areas of policy and delivery that also need attention, including:
- Refocusing of Government and its agencies on the need to catalyse demand for products that utilise recyclate. We propose a new Resources Industry Infrastructure Action Plan that should refresh the original remit of WRAP, recommend targets for increasing recyclate tonnage reprocessed in the UK and undertake urgent research into the feasibility of legislation on minimum recycled content in key product streams
- Extending the commitment of new investment to tackle waste crime at home and illegal exports of waste sent as recyclate
- Commissioning an independent review of product design in relation to barriers to recyclability and identification of a “route map to recyclability”
- Undertaking a full review of the Packaging Recovery Note system for producer responsibility for packaging and packaging waste
- Undertaking a review of public procurement rules, looking at removal of barriers to procurement of recycled products and establishing minimum standards guidance on procurement of resource collection services
- Establishing the case for the early introduction of an Incineration Tax and revision of the Landfill Communities Fund to incorporate a tax credits scheme based on the revenues from an Incineration Tax
- Commissioning a review of recycling targets as the primary measure of success by reviewing alternative metrics that may better capture the intentions of a circular economy-based resources strategy.
Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive of the Resource Association said: “There have been growing demands across our industry for stronger leadership and fresh momentum in policy development in resources management.
“Our Manifesto for Resources 2015 is a significant shopping list of policy measures, but it reflects the need and depth with which policy in this area needs review and rejuvenation.
“As an indicator of what may be needed if we are to meet the challenge and potential of the circular economy and develop the jobs, growth and better resource use we know our industry can deliver, it is a call to action for future Members of Parliament and the incoming Government, regardless of its political colours and complexity.
“We challenge them all to be bold and seize the prize of resources, jobs and growth in a circular economy.”