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Following Defra’s decision to take a step back from waste management, MP’s have urged Government to increase recycling rates across England by 2020.


Government has been asked to ensure that only genuine residual waste is sent to energy-from-waste plants. MP’s have advised that more needs to be done to boost the use of heat outputs from these facilities in order to improve energy efficiency achieved through energy-from-waste plants.

Efra’s enquiry into waste and resource management in the UK was fuelled by a letter to the industry from resource Minister Dan Rogerson revealed that:

“From April 2014 we will be stepping back in areas where businesses are better placed to act and there is no clear market failure.”

Launching a report on Waste management in England, the chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra), Anne McIntosh said:

 “Defra ‘stepped back’ from waste management at a time when we need both a more ambitious approach to waste management and stronger Government leadership to drive up static recycling rates in England and make better use of energy recovery options such as local heating for homes. Ministers must now show that waste policy remains an important priority.”

Efra recognises the benefits that arise when waste is valued as a resource. In order to achieve Defra’s goal to improve the environment, the Committee would like sustainable waste and resource management to play a vital role.

Anne McIntosh from Efra has the following to say:

 “On a household level there is too much confusion about what can or can’t be recycled—and very little confidence in the process” explains McIntosh. “Communication must improve and be tailored to local circumstances, but Defra should provide support at a national level—particularly in relation to common issues and problems.” 

Efra has called for clear guidance from Defra on the waste treatment capacity needed in England to achieve the best balance between the export of refuse-derived fuel and local treatment.

In addition to the above the committee would like to see more effort being done to tackle issues surrounding separate waste collections as well as curbing the frequent occurrence of fires at waste management sites.

McIntosh went on to say:

“Too much food waste is still sent to landfill, but separate food waste collections can be disproportionately expensive and difficult to implement in practice,” “The Government must find practical ways to divert more food waste out of the residual stream but in ways that suit local circumstances”.

In conclusion, the report should serve as a wake –up call for not only Government but also business and individuals operating within the sector. It is in everyone’s favour to use resources more effectively and carefully as well make continued efforts to reduce waste.

CLICK HERE for the full report.