OPINION: The Resources & Waste Strategy is out for consultation – so what is next for the industry? Paul Taylor, chief executive of FCC Environment takes a look at how recycling and waste management topics could develop in light of the strategy.
The UK’s environmental and sustainability policy agenda has taken an important leap forward. Following the publication of the Resources and Waste Strategy in December, the government has now published several consultations which, with industry input, will help determine the future sustainability policy landscape in the UK and should, in theory, help the Government in its ambition to make 2019 the ‘Year of Green Action’.
The purpose of these consultations is to consider a number of important issues, including the extension of producer responsibility, the standardisation of recycling collections, and the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme – and to seek the views of interested parties on what they’re proposing. The findings should form a crucial part of shaping future policy and, in theory, help us as we try to solve the persistent problem of single-use plastic waste pollution, unpick the damage caused by consumer confusion surrounding recycling, as well as bolstering the culpability of manufacturers for the packaging they produce.
However, whilst this consultation process takes place in the coming months, the urgent question remains – how do we deal with the UK’s mounting residual waste?
Experts agree that we have a residual waste crisis here in the UK, and we do not currently have the waste infrastructure in place to adequately deal with this problem. Whilst tackling producer responsibility and consumer confusion is a vital necessity, these are long-term issues that will not help solve the crisis we face in the here and now.
Given the urgent need to address this issue head on, FCC Environment is proactively getting on with the important job of building the UK’s residual waste capacity so that we can see immediate change, and help treat our contaminated plastics from the get go.
To help us achieve this aim, we have recently announced the construction of a new Energy from Waste facility in Lostock. This will be one of UK and Europe’s largest Energy from Waste plants, processing 600,000 tonnes of waste each year, and in turn contributing to the government’s ambition of reducing landfill usage here in the UK. At the same time, this facility will create enough energy to power roughly 110,000 homes.
I look forward to responding to the Government’s newly published consultations, and continuing to work with Defra to help formulate the future of the UK’s post-Brexit waste policy. However, in the meantime, FCC Environment will continue to play its delivering a waste system fit for 2019, as well as the future.