ESA calls for public sector waste shake-up
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has outlined its vision for the long term future of the waste sector, and has proposed radical changes to the way waste is managed by local authorities and private sector companies.
On the 1st of August 2016 a new paper was released, namely, ‘Resourceful: Delivering a Strong and Competitive UK Resource Economy’, in which the ESA has set out a series of policies it claims will drive efficiency in the sector – arguing that in a ‘changing world, the framework which governs the work we do must change with it’.
The waste and resource management industry provides a critical service to Britain’s economy. Each year, the industry turns over an estimated £11bn, employing around 100,000 people and ensures the huge volume of material discarded every day is collected and managed effectively.
The world is changing though and, as a result, the framework which governs the work we do must change with it. This will ensure that Britain has a world leading and sustainable waste and resource management network which can be competitive in what is now a global market and deliver efficiency, increase productivity and employment and, crucially, create economic growth.
The ESA believe that this report which was crafted by the ESA in conjunction with the sector, in response to a challenge by DEFRA to put forward proposals for reform, will deliver just that.
The paper is to be presented to Defra ministers following a call for policy proposals from the former minister for resources Rory Stewart.
Among the proposals ESA is calling for a major review of the producer responsibility system, which it claims could cover “transferring responsibility for household waste resources from local authorities to product supply chains”.
ESA claims that this would likely move costs of collection away from the public sector towards producers, adding: “If applied to the whole of the domestic waste stream, this would save average council tax payers up to £250 per annum. In the longer run, the improved incentives to design products and packaging for recyclability, as well as the strengthened recycling markets that would result, would drive increased resource efficiency and improve the productivity of the UK.”
This document sets out a proposed package of reforms which would lead to:
- A private sector-led package of investment in new waste infrastructure worth £10bn
- The creation of 15m tonnes of new processing capacity
- Savings of between £1bn to £4bn to the public purse (dependent on the extent to which the proposals are implemented and further detailed analysis)
- The creation of 50,000 jobs
- Potential savings equivalent to between £50 and £250 per household on council tax bills
The ESA are striving to create a world leading and sustainable waste and resource management network that will make Britain competitive within a rapidly evolving global market.
They hope that this will create a more efficient supply chain, lower costs and become a catalyst for private investment. It centres on a more comprehensive producer responsibility system, transferring responsibility for household waste resources from local authorities to product supply chains and increasing action to tackle waste crime, as well as a shift away from the old approach of arbitrary weight-based targets with greater emphasis placed on delivering value from our waste resources.
The package of measures will lead to a shift away from the fractured network of systems in place at present and create a more harmonious and coherent network which will drive efficiencies, economies of scale and, ultimately, environmental and financial benefits.