ESA releases sector snapshot report for new policy-makers

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has published a new market research report today (8 July), intended for new government ministers and the 300 new MPs entering parliament, following the general election.

The ESA has said that the waste and recycling sector is subject to a “complex policy and regulatory environment”, one that will have “profound effects” on the market, as well as waste and recycling services.

The ESA highlighted the inclusion of Energy-from-Waste in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2028. Also, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging, changes to kerbside collection services under Simpler Recycling and a deposit return scheme are all to be introduced within the next parliament. ESA said that deadlines for the above are “rapidly approaching” and new policymakers will need to “get to grips” with the complexities of the sector.

The report brings together current data for waste volumes and flows, alongside informative charts, breaking down the market structure, with commentary on current and future economic and policy drivers both for the sector’s core activities and its decarbonisation plans.

The ESA said it hopes that the publication will provide policymakers, investors, journalists and stakeholders across the sector with an “accessible but comprehensive” snapshot of the £24billion sector.

The report, entitled UK Recycling and Waste Treatment Market Overview, was compiled by independent consultancy Tolvik Consulting.

The full report is available exclusively to ESA members but will be distributed directly to parliamentarians and relevant stakeholders. An abridged version is available to non-members for free. Both versions can be accessed from the ESA’s new website.

“Forever shifting”

Executive director of the ESA, Jacob Hayler, said: “The only interaction most people have with our sector is when their home or business bins are collected, or they need to visit their local Household Waste Recycling Centre. However, behind these valuable and visible frontline services lies a large, intricate and symbiotic network of organisations, infrastructure, data, policy and regulation that is forever shifting in response to societal and technological change. This report aims to provide an accessible snapshot of the sector – helping to bring those less familiar with its structure quickly up to speed.

It also underscores the collective scale and impact of our members within the UK’s recycling and waste treatment system, which together account for a workforce of more than 50,000 people and operate the majority of outsourced local authority recycling and waste services across the country. Our members invest billions in British infrastructure, put boots on the ground and serve more than 17 million people every day – playing a pivotal role in the circular economy and protecting the environment.”

Tolvik director, Chris Jonas, said: “Tolvik is very pleased to support the ESA in communicating the range and scope of the £24bn of services provided by the waste and resources sector across the UK. The report brings together a wide range of data sources from many industry segments into a single summary report to provide some clarity and high-level understanding of the scale of activities undertaken in the managing of the UKs resources over recent years.

Clearly with significant policy development on the cusp of implementation and further policy development required in key areas of circular economy and carbon reduction, these flows and values are likely to change materially going forwards. The report is intended to provide a robust snapshot of current macro market structures.”

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