The forthcoming waste strategy is set to offer “great opportunities” for the waste management sector, the new chair of the Environmental Services Association has declared.
The upbeat message came last Friday from Phil Piddington, managing director of Viridor, who succeeds Stewart Davies as chair of the association which represents the UK’s waste management industry.
Addressing ESA members and guests at the association’s annual lunch in London, Mr Piddington said the industry had to “work with councils and businesses to drive up recycling performance and resource productivity. We are the ones who will need to put in the additional services to dramatically shift recycling rates, and to cut out contamination and boost material quality.”
(above: Phil Piddington, ESA chair, also spoke of the importance of health and safety)
He continued: “We are the ones who will need to invest in the infrastructure to process materials and turn them into essential products and vital energy. And we are the ones who will steward resources through the economy, protecting the environment whilst creating jobs and value for the UK.”
Mr Piddington told his audiences that there were a number of things the Association wanted to see in the Resources and Waste Strategy. He backed stronger producer responsibility although warned that without viable markets there would be “no point collecting and sorting material”.
He continued: “So we also need and expect to be able to welcome clear measures to encourage the use of increasing proportions of recycled content,” said the new chair. “This could be achieved by using variable charges under the new producer responsibility scheme. Or it could be achieved by the Treasury’s new plastics tax if rates are high enough. But if these measures aren’t enough to encourage retailers and manufacturers to change their behaviour and actually use recycled content, then the government should go further and make it mandatory.”
Mr Piddington also touched on tackling waste crime, an issue which the ESA sees as of considerable importance.
He said: “We will continue to actively support the Government and the regulators as they bring in tougher measures to stop criminals entering our sector, and to stop these criminals getting their hands on material. We particularly welcome and support the recommendations of the recent serious and organised waste crime review, which shows that flytipping alone costs our economy £219 million each year in clean-up costs and lost revenues, and that fraud and misclassification of waste costs a similar amount.
“Secondly, we will also continue to raise awareness of people’s obligations to put the right waste in the right place, and to set the standards of professionalism and performance which the rest of the industry should follow, for the protection and benefit of local communities and our environment.”