The long-awaited Resources & Waste Strategy (RWS) will be launched tomorrow (18 December) and will contain wide ranging proposals covering measures around waste prevention, reuse and recycling. Secretary of state for the environment, Michael Gove will be questioned in Parliament this Wednesday on the new strategy, just a day after its’ launch. Questions are expected to be led from Mary Creagh MP, the forthright chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.
Waste Strategy -The RWS was supposed to be launched in November, but due to political uncertainty around Brexit, the launch was delayed. The key focus of the strategy is around circular economy principles and the promotion of waste prevention measures, more reuse and greater recycling. The Strategy will cover the detail of how the UK will meet the ambitions for resources and waste that are set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy. It will include details on our plans for greater consistency, food waste collections, DRS and Extended Producer Responsibility.
The new strategy will include the roll-out of food waste collections to more householders in the UK, plans for significant reform of the packaging waste/PRN system and actions for local authorities including the idea of more joint working. Energy from waste is also expected to be recognised in the strategy, but it will focus more on recycling rather than encouraging more incineration.
Last week, Defra published England’s local authority recycling statistics for 2017/18 which confirmed the recycling rate for waste from households in England in 2017 was 45.2%, up from 44.9% in 2016.
In 2000, the household waste recycling rate was 11%. Just 12.5% of all local authority waste was disposed to landfill in 2017/18, down by 0.9 million tonnes or 22% to 3.2 million tonnes. This compares to 15.7% of all local authority waste disposed to landfill in 2016/17.
A Defra spokesperson said:
“It is encouraging to see the recycling rate rising in England. People are producing less waste, less of that waste is being sent to landfill, and separate food waste collections are increasing.
More councils than ever are now recycling over half of all waste and the increases reported by councils such as Sutton, Stroud and Colchester show what can be achieved by offering residents a comprehensive waste collection service.
Our upcoming Resources and Waste Strategy will set out plans to make sure we continue to reduce avoidable waste and recycle more.”