Resource Association Calls For Office For Resource Management Within Defra

The wasteline reportA new briefing paper published today (9 July), which has been sponsored by the Resource Association, has recommended that an Office for Resource Management be established within Defra, tasked with increasing the publics’ understanding of how resources are used in the UK, and facilitating a cultural change in use and re-use. 

The Resource Association and “progressive thinktank” the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published the report, “The wasteline: Redefining ‘waste’ and improving resource management policy”, which is aimed at analysing Britain’s “waste” policy to date.

The report identifies strategic goals in helping to move the UK towards a more circular economy, and sets out recommendations for how they can be achieved.

The goals are: a better understanding among business and government of how the UK’s resources are used; a cultural and behavioural shift throughout society in favour of re-using materials; an end to inefficient and polluting treatment of reusable and recyclable (or secondary) materials.

The first recommendation is the establishment of an Office for Resource Management (ORM) within Defra.

“The consensus view is that resources will become increasingly scarce, expensive and volatile. Yet even if that does not transpire, making better use of our resources is a win-win for businesses and consumers”

The report says this office should be staffed by secondees from industry and other government departments, and should be tasked with increasing the UK’s understanding of how resources are used, and to facilitate a cultural change in their use and re-use.

Other recommendations set out in the report suggest Defra and the new ORM should work with other EU member states and the European Commission to ease regulation over food labeling in order to help prevent food that is still edible from going to waste.

It also says Defra should consider banning the use of macerators to dispose of food in public sewers.

The report also states that HM Treasury says it needs time to consult on how to better enforce landfill tax and that there remains a need to “discourage the inefficient and polluting disposal of valuable secondary materials.”

The Treasury should consider gradually increasing the financial penalties for sending “waste” to landfill in the next parliament, it also recommends, “once a balanced economic recovery has been established,” it says.

Recommendations

The report also suggests that Treasury should launch a consultation to find the most effective means of reducing incineration that imposes the lowest burden on business and local authorities.

It should include an examination of the costs and benefits of introducing a fiscal incentive to reduce incineration, of introducing regulations to ban specific materials to incineration, and of doing nothing.

“The consensus view is that resources will become increasingly scarce, expensive and volatile,” the report states. “Yet even if that does not transpire, making better use of our resources is a win-win for businesses and consumers. Government has already succeeded in delivering one cultural change in the form of huge increases in recycling over the last 15 years.

“Another culture change is now needed. We must encourage re-use as well as recycling in order to drive down incineration and landfill, and ultimately ensure that ‘waste’ is seen as a resource with an economic value rather than merely as something to be disposed of.”


CIWM Says

CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said of the report: “This report adds to the call from businesses that future resource security and price is crucial to UK business continuity and success. That will mean much better management of the resources we use including cutting virgin material demand and maximising the opportunities to recover secondary materials.

Steve Lee, CIWM – “This report adds to the call from businesses that future resource security and price is crucial to UK business continuity and success”

“To do this requires improvements at every step from design and manufacturing processes and services, through to what we sell and how we sell it, and consumer perception and behaviours. It also means that we must re-double our efforts to preserve the value of the materials that end up as “waste”.

“This report confirms that action will be needed by all parts of UK society, starting from the top of Government with a reversal of the weakening of policy and leadership we have seen in recent years in England. There also has to be the right support for councils, companies and third sector organisations engaged in the  business of resources and waste management.

“CIWM Members will need to read this report carefully, and no doubt it will cause debate and tease out differences of opinion. But the core message is clear: we must do more to manage our resources; and we need a strong lead from government to do that”.


For the full report CLICK HERE

 

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