Resources and Waste Strategy – live reaction

Defra has published its much-anticipated Resources and Waste Strategy today (18 December).

Headline policy proposals include the prospect of separate food waste collections for every household and an overhaul of the packaging producer responsibility system.

Follow our live blog for up-to-the-minute reactions to the policy announcement.

Refresh this page throughout the day for the latest responses.

More on this story: Gove promises end to ‘offshoring’ of waste
Strategy: Defra sets out food waste actions
Packaging waste ‘immediate priority’ in Defra strategy

Strategy: Read the full strategy here

What’s your view? Email your thoughts on the recycling and waste strategy to news@letsrecycle.com

17:30 That’s us signing off for the night. Thanks to everyone for sending in your thoughts, I hope you enjoyed our coverage.  Now off out for a cold drink! – Will Date and Joshua Doherty. 

WRA pleased with strategy outcome

Julia Turner, executive director of the WRA

17:08 Representing the wood sector, Julia Turner, executive director of the Wood Recyclers’ Association, said while the crux of the strategy is promising for the industry, it is dissapointed that the restrictions of waste exemptions will not be an immediate action, but rather one planned for later in the year.

“We welcome Defra’s Resources & Waste Strategy, which strongly supports the  WRA’s own waste hierarchy principles  of reuse, recycle and recovery. We are particularly pleased to see there is a strong focus on reuse, which we believe will play a key role in the UK’s waste wood market going forward,” she said.

Ms Turner added: “We are also pleased to see there are plans to help tackle waste crime as we believe this is a big issue for our members and our industry as a whole. However, we are disappointed that the restrictions of waste exemptions will not be an immediate action.”

Labour labels strategy ‘disappointing’

16: 48 Although most responses to this morning’s strategy largely welcome proposals, there were some who were more critical of the strategy, which had been eagerly anticipated across the industry.

Leonie Cooper AM,  Labour’s London Assembly environment spokeswoman, said it failed to live up to expectations.

Leonie Cooper, Labour London Assembly member

“While the Strategy commits to introducing a ‘polluter pays’ principle, it falls short of introducing the much-touted plastic tax, by only advocating taxing plastic with less than 30% recycled content,” she explained.

Ms Cooper added: “Many of us saw the tragic scenes in Blue Planet II and I’m sure Londoners will be deeply disappointed that the Strategy supposed to remedy this is not ambitious enough, which is such a wasted opportunity.”

Echoing this was Guy Schanschieff MBE, chair of the Nappy Alliance, who also said it was a “missed opportunity” as it didn’t consider the impact of disposable nappies.


Elsewhere, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said that while the proposals are welcomed, they will be delivered too late.

Samantha Harding, litter programme director at the charity, said:  “It is great to see further commitments to introduce a deposit return system for cans and bottles, which is proven to boost recycle rates. However, the roll-out of such a system may not happen for another 5 years. With the Scottish Government expected to introduce its deposit system by 2020,why does our government think it would take a further 3 years to get in line?


While giving the strategy a “cautious thumbs up”, Eunomia said it was pleased the Government’s commitment to matching, or exceeding, the measures of the EU’s Plastics Directive.

However, it hit out at plans for disposable cups. Dominic Hogg, chairman of Eunomia, said:

“It is disappointing to see that once again the Government are not taking a strong stance on the issue of disposable cups. The measures included in the strategy focus on increasing the recyclability of the cups, which, whilst being well-intentioned, does not solve the littering problem caused by these throwaway items.”

Waste partnerships

Among those more optimistic about the strategy was cllr John Fisher, chairman of the Norfolk Waste Partnership.

He said: “It supports much of the good work already happening here in Norfolk by residents, businesses and local authorities and gives us clear direction on where to go next to further improve our performance.

“The strategy sets out radical proposals for how large producers could help meet costs of recycling their product packaging and there is a strengthening focus on the reduction of food waste.”

Meanwhile, Carl Beer, chief executive of Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority: “The New Resource and Waste Strategy published by the Government this morning provides both opportunities and challenges for all of us delivering resource management here in the Liverpool City Region.

“The Authority calls upon all its partners to work together to implement change that has positive impacts for all our communities, and the wider environment.”

Strategy ‘promising’ for textiles sector

Alan Wheeler, director of the Textiles Recycling Association

16:26 Speaking from a textiles point of view was Alan Wheeler, director of the Textile Recycling Association (TRA).

He explained that the strategy provides a good framework to build future objectives, and hopes to be part of developing further details.

Mr Wheeler said: “The strategy provides a promising framework upon which we could build future resource management objectives.  Of course the devil is in the detail and we are looking forward to being part of the process to develop this.

“We are particularly encouraged to see that textiles have been identified as one of the five priority streams to be reviewed and consulted on over measures such as Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Standards and it is interesting that they are linking this with the “Polluter Pays” principle.”

Recolight backs non-compliance crackdown

16:16 Recolight CEO Nigel Harvey, praised the strategy’s pledge to review the WEEE system, but said he hopes to see action sooner rather than later.

Nigel Harvey, CEO of Recolight

Mr Harvey said: “The move to making online sellers responsible for WEEE compliance of the product they sell is very welcome.  Recolight has campaigned long and hard for this change.  The level of WEEE avoidance on some major marketplaces is very high.”

The Recolight CEO added: “That non-compliance is damaging to the competitiveness of compliant companies.  It also means that the recycling of some lighting products might, in the long term, become unfunded.

“We do, however, hope that the Government will consult on options before their backstop deadline of end 2020.  The sooner this loophole is closed, the better. What is more, WEEE could just be the tip of the non-compliance iceberg.”

Optimism that EPR will ‘recognise’ aluminium value

16:10 Among those welcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation in the strategy was Rick Hindley, executive director of the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro).

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro

Mr Hindley said that while “robust research” will be needed into all of the proposed methods, he is hopeful that reformed extended producer responsibility will “recognise” the high value of aluminium.

Mr Hindley said: “The Devil is in the detail, and we strongly believe that robust research, including full impact assessments, must be carried out into all the options. We are optimistic that the Government will propose measures to ensure the reformed EPR will recognise the high value of materials such as aluminium, and we look forward to continuing to work with Government to ensure that future systems maximise the full potential of aluminium.”

He added: “The proposed legislation and consultations provide a rare opportunity for us to shape a ‘whole system’ approach that will deliver the 25Year Plan, the EU Circular Economy Package, and the aspiration for the UK to be recognised as the leading global champion of a more sustainable future for the next generation.”

Recycling Association: recycling sector set for transformation

15:35 Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association has said he is broadly supportive of the measures set out in the strategy, which could transform the recycling sector in the UK.

In particular he highlighted the proposal to use a modulated fee for packaging recycling to improve the recyclability of materials placed onto the market.

Simon Ellin, chief executive of the Recycling Association

Mr Ellin, a staunch advocate of recycling material quality, said: “Over two years ago we launched our Quality First campaign to improve the quality of materials for recycling, and the Resources and Waste Strategy addresses many of our concerns that led to this.

“There is a commitment to improve the quality of materials that are sent for export, and this has to be welcomed as long as it isn’t so stringent as to become a barrier. But the signs are that we will look to send high quality material to end destinations and we support that principle.

“Full cost recovery for producers is included in the Strategy and will be consulted on, but we are pleased to see that the retailers and manufacturers will need to pay for the recycling of the materials they put on the market.

“We also welcome the idea of a modulated fee, so that those who use packaging that is very difficult or impossible to recycle will have to pay most. This should provide an incentive to them to make their packaging more recyclable.

“The Recycling Association is also pleased to see a commitment to consistent collections for households as this will make it much easier for people to recycle, while clearer labelling will help them put the right items in the right bin.

“Compulsory electronic tracking of waste should help to crack down on waste crime, but we need to ensure it doesn’t create onerous bureaucracy for The Recycling Association members.”

NAWDO: full cost proposals encouraging

15:20 Plans to make producers bear the ‘full cost’ of recycling of their own products has been met with approval by the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO) – a local authority body.

Responding to the strategy’s launch, the organisation said: “NAWDO welcomes the publication of the Resources and Waste Strategy and its comprehensive lifecycle approach to resources production, consumption and end of life management.

“We are particularly encouraged by the commitment to full cost recovery of collection, disposal and recycling of waste, much of which results from goods and materials put onto the market. Local Authority collection and disposal is highly efficient and has needed an intervention of this kind for some time to assist with total waste reduction and to make non-recyclable packaging a thing of the past.

“No doubt, some of the changes needed might be challenging since they are different from what is currently done however, we are grateful to Defra for the collaborative approach taken to date and welcome more joint working with DEFRA, central government and industry colleagues to enable us all to be even more efficient and sustainable over the next 25 years.”

Resource Association: strategy ‘holds promise’

15:10 Speaking on behalf of the materials reprocessing sector, the Resource Association today welcomed the publication of the long-awaited Resources and Waste Strategy for England by Defra.

In a reaction statement, the organisation’s chief executive Ray Georgeson commented: “We welcome the new Resources and Waste Strategy as an important contribution and route map for significantly improving resource management in England. Although many key proposals remain subject to consultation, the signalling of major change is clear.  If effectively implemented, many of the measures outlined hold the promise of the kickstart to the circular economy that we urgently need.”

INCPEN: packaging reforms and consistency focus right

14:45 With packaging being a major area of action within the strategy, sustainable packaging body INCPEN has welcomed the focus on both packaging waste reforms and recycling collection consistency.

Paul Vanston
Paul Vanston, INCPEN

Paul Vanston, INCPEN’s chief executive, said: “Much of the ‘hard yards’ in delivering the Strategy’s aims is scheduled to take place in early 2019 with the release of four major consultations: implementation of a deposit return system; packaging system reforms and packaging targets for 2020 onwards; consistency of councils’ recycling services to customers; and HM Treasury’s consultation on a tax on packaging items with less than 30% recycled content.

“It is essential the collaborative efforts of 2018 continue with even greater industriousness across the packaging supply chain and with our partners in councils, with the resources management sector, and with recyclers & reprocessors. With an anticipated injection of up to £1billion from producers, it’s vital this money is seen as additional, and turbo boosts recycling rates.

“That means the resources industry can’t afford for either HM Treasury or councils’ finance departments to see producer funding as an opportunity to reduce existing council recycling and waste budgets. The net effect of such detrimental moves would be to stifle the very performance uplifts in recycling and resource efficiency Defra’s Strategy seeks to achieve.”

CIWM: strategy will ‘reboot’ recycling

14.07 The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management has described the publication of the strategy as a ‘much needed framework to reboot recycling and move towards a circular economy.

Chris Murphy, CIWM

CIWM’s executive director Chris Murphy, said: “It proposes many measures that CIWM has long been calling for, including fundamental reform of packaging producer responsibility, new producer responsibility schemes for other challenging waste streams such as tyres, and the full roll out of separate food waste collection. Importantly, the strategy also acknowledges the need for action right at the top of the waste hierarchy. As well as a focus on food waste prevention and measures to address some of the key barriers to reuse and remanufacture, CIWM also welcomes the commitment to mirror the EU level ambitions to extend eco-design to embrace resource efficiency.

“The range of measures to tackle waste crime are also welcome and reflects work done by CIWM, ESA and others to keep this growing problem on the Government’s agenda. The proposal for mandatory electronic tracking of waste, meanwhile, will not only help to prevent waste crime but will also provide better data to ensure that the economic value of secondary materials can be fully captured.”

ADBA: 2023 food waste goal ‘a long way off’

12.45 Also in the organic waste sector, the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) has welcomed the news of mandatory separate food waste collections for English councils.

However, commenting on the publication of the Strategy, Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Association questioned the five-year lead-time on the policy set out by Defra.

Charlotte Morton, ADBA

She said: “ADBA has long campaigned for the introduction of mandatory separate food waste collections in England and we warmly welcome the proposals set out in the Resources & Waste Strategy.

“It’s an absolute no-brainer that inedible food waste should be separately collected so it doesn’t end up wasted in incinerators or landfill and so that the energy and nutrition locked up in it can be reused, reducing the UK’s need for fossil-based energy and fertiliser. As the Strategy says, it is a moral scandal that so much of this valuable resource is wasted.

“A commitment by ministers to universal food waste collections will finally allow England to catch up with the rest of the UK in recycling its inedible food waste whilst, most importantly, reducing the amount of food wasted in the first place.

“However, 2023 is a long way off. There are around 70 local authorities with their waste contracts up for renewal in the next three years – for this policy to have tangible effects we need actions from the Government long before 2023 to provide funding, guidance and support to local authorities to implement separate food waste collections as quickly as possible. This is not only vital for us to meet our commitments under the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but is also the lowest cost option.”

REA: mandated food waste collections welcomed

12.35 The Renewable Energy Association, which has long campaigned for mandated food waste collections, has said it is ‘delighted’ that Michael Gove has ‘recognised the need both to reduce food waste as well as to collect it for energy generation and use as a natural fertiliser’.

Jeremy Jacobs, technical director, REA

In his reaction to the strategy today, Jeremy Jacobs, REA’s technical director welcomed the proposals.

He said: “We have been pressing Defra for a number of years to follow the example of the devolved nations to mandate food waste collections, in order that this valued resource is better utilised, rather than being landfilled. We need more work on waste prevention measures but, alongside these, it is vital that both household and commercial food waste is captured within this initiative, with local authorities being sufficiently incentivised or funded to make this happen at the earliest opportunity.

“We are also keen to see that existing infrastructure is used effectively to treat garden waste and food waste, where it is comingled, rather than send food waste excessive distances to AD facilities, many such in-vessel composting facilities already exist and have a valuable role to play in the treatment of food waste.

“It is further welcome that the strategy aims to incentivise producers, at the top of the waste hierarchy, to ensure their products can be reused and recycled. Government need to consider how the funds raised from this will support activity to see much needed increases in recycling rates and ensure the available capacity of energy recovery technologies where recycling is not possible.

“The REA is delighted at these policy proposals in the Strategy and looks forward to working closely with government to increase food waste recycling across England.”

Georgeson: EPR and food waste plans significant

12.15 On social media Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson has weighed in on the reaction to the Strategy so far…

Aldersgate Group: ‘good start but more action needed’

12.05 Business environmental body the Aldersgate Group has welcomed the proposals around design included in the strategy. These will focus on encouraging producers to design products to make them more recyclable or resource efficient.

However, in a statment today, Nick Mohlo, the group’s executive director, has called for rapid progress on the consultations which will outline much of the detail of the strategy.

He said: “Despite the positive sense of direction provided by this Strategy, a lot of the measures announced today are either subject to consultation or at an early exploratory stage. It will be essential for the consultations and actions referenced in the strategy to make rapid progress in 2019.

“Greater resource efficiency is critical to cutting waste, cutting emissions and improving the competitiveness of our economy and it is essential that the Brexit process doesn’t result in further delay to policy progress in this area.”

Timeline: what are the important dates?

11.55 The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out the major policy direction for government on waste and recycling over the coming decade, but much of the detail is set to be revealed in the New Year – with consultations expected on a number of the key components of the strategy, including a deposit return scheme, overhaul of the packaging producer responsibility system and greater standardisation of recycling collections.

The above table details some of the expected timetable for the ambitions and further actions set out in the strategy. See our lead story for more analysis.

FCC: ‘encouraging’ statement on EfW

11.45 FCC is among the waste and resources management companies to express optimism over the direction outlined in the waste strategy. In particular the company said it is encouraged by the ‘commitment’ to energy from waste shown within the strategy.

Paul Taylor, FCC

Commenting on the publication of the Waste and Resources Strategy today, Paul Taylor, chief executive at FCC Environment, said: “This Strategy marks an important step forward in how we view our waste. With last week’s news that recycling rates have fallen, there’s clearly an urgent need to relook at our approach, and we welcome the ambitious plans Defra has laid out to make the UK a more resource efficient nation. It seems that they have listened to our views.

“In particular, we are encouraged to see a commitment Energy from Waste technology as a way to divert waste from landfill, and an increased focus on reuse, which has been a much-overlooked part of waste policy for many years.

“It is imperative that we leave our planet in a better state than we found it and we hope that this Strategy goes some way to starting to that. We look forward to working with Government to deliver on the commitments it has outlined.”

More on the potential policy implications for the EfW sector and landfill (see letsrecycle.com story).

Veolia: ready to invest

11.40 Michael Gove visited Veolia’s MRF in Southwark to officially launch the strategy.

Richard Kirkman of Veolia (left) with the Environment Secretary Michael Gove

Veolia has welcomed the direction set out in the policy document, claiming that the promise of more consistent local authority recycling services will deliver benefits for the recycling and waste sector.

Speaking alongside Mr Gove today, the company’s chief technology and innovation officer, Richard Kirman, said:

“The government has listened to industry and these steps have the clear potential to dramatically change the way the sector operates to increase recycling and recovery rates.

“With consistent collections and advanced facilities like this at Southwark more recyclable materials can be collected for reprocessing into new products. As a business we are ready to invest, to take advantage of new technology, build more infrastructure and work with brand owners and local authorities to harness resources on an industrial scale.

“It’s the direction we have been hoping and waiting for, and with the public and businesses playing their part the UK can build a sustainable future.”

Suez: Palmer-Jones welcomes ambition

11.04 David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of Suez recycling and recovery UK, has welcomed the strategy as an ‘ambitious step change in the nation’s journey towards a circular economy’ as well as providing positive signals for businesses, consumers and the environment.

David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of Suez

He said: “At its core, this strategy demands better coordination between all of those involved in the production and management of waste – from product-design to retail, consumption, collection and recycling or reuse – and will empower businesses across the value chain to work together, helping consumers to make sustainable choices regarding the things they buy and throw away.

“We are particularly pleased to see Defra’s backing for a Full net Cost Recovery model of producer responsibility, which outpaces European counterparts, although welcome the fact that businesses will be asked to help determine the detail of this through consultation early next year. If done correctly, this could provide better funding for council and commercial waste collection and sorting services, which would improve recycling, while minimising the cost to consumers and tax payers. It should also lead to greater harmonisation of services, which makes life easier for consumers.

“Making producers fully responsible for the cost and collection of products and packaging will put Britain back among the world leaders for attaining higher recycling rates and driving out waste. The strategy rightly, however, seeks to give business some say in how this can be most effectively implemented to achieve environmental goals without inflating costs.

“We also welcome the new policy of mandatory separate food waste collections although, again, welcome the fact that Defra will consult local authorities to determine the detail of implementation.”

Manufacturers: concerns over cost

10.57 Proposals to have producers cover the ‘full cost’ of the disposal and recycling of their products feature prominently in the strategy.

Whilst welcoming some of the proposals outlined in the strategy, Roz Bulleid, head of climate and environment policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said that producers of goods were keen to engage with government further on the detail.

Speaking today, she said: “Manufacturers are keen to play their part in the circular economy and are pleased to finally see more detail from government on its plans. More consistent waste and recycling collections and better product labelling should help lead to an improvement in the quality of recycled material, making it a more promising option for manufacturers.

“However, EEF’s members will be concerned about the potential cost implications of some proposals, particularly around extended producer responsibility, mandatory guarantees and extended warranties, and anxious to engage with government on the detail of its plans.”

Conference: Unwrapping the waste strategy

10.50 letsrecycle.com is running a one-day conference to discuss the details and next steps from the Resources and Waste Strategy.

Taking place on 14 February 2019, at the Trades Union Congress Centre in London, the conference will unpick some of the finer details from the Strategy and look at the route ahead for the resources sector.

Speakers confirmed so far include the Advisory Committee on Packaging, Defra, ESA, LARAC and the Recycling Association.

To register your interest in the conference, and to receive more details, email events@letsrecycle.com.

Ecosurety: welcome focus on Extended Producer Responsibility

10.40 Leading the reaction from the Producer Compliance sector, Ecosurety’s policy manager Robbie Staniforth, said:“The need for reform in the waste and recycling sector is something that Ecosurety have long been campaigning for and on this basis we welcome the release of today’s ambitious Resource & Waste Strategy.

Robbie Staniforth, Ecosurety

“Of particular note to Ecosurety and its members is Defra’s prioritisation of a public consultation on existing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations. We are encouraged that Defra has listened to the industry’s call for more material streams to be included. New, improved EPR legislation and an expansion into sectors such as textiles, tyres and mattresses could have a significant impact on how the UK both consumes goods and how it recovers valuable, recyclable materials.

“It must be noted that new EPR channels will require adequate investment. In this way, the UK’s recycling infrastructure will be in a position to handle an expansion into new sectors. Without investment we will remain reliant on export channels for our recycling. This would reduce traceability and compromise UK recycling and environmental integrity.

“Ecosurety welcomes Defra’s decision to give the recycling sector the opportunity to feed into a framework that will set the direction of travel for resources and how they’re recycled for at least the next decade – or even the next quarter of a century. We also welcome the clear timings that the report outlines in the context of its ambitious plans. Rather than opting for a ‘best of a bad bunch’ approach in the consultation, Ecosurety will seek to deliver the very best solutions for the UK’s recycling sector. In this way we can adequately meet the vision for a more circular waste economy which the Resource & Waste Strategy indicates is a key priority.”

Biffa: emerging opportunities for investors

10.30 According to Michael Topham, chief executive of Biffa, one of the UK’s largest waste management companies, claims that the strategy offers an opportunity to ‘transform’ the sector, with up to £8 billion of potential investment ready to be unlocked.

Michael Topham, chief executive of Biffa

He said: “Increased investment in the UK’s recycling services and infrastructure is essential if we are to meet the government’s new targets. This strategy highlights both the emerging opportunities for private investors, as well as promoting new funding support mechanisms through measures like deposit return schemes and reform of the packaging waste recovery note (PRN) system.

“We have already created better end markets for items like PET drinks bottles and HPDE milk containers – our Biffa Polymers plant processes these extremely successfully and we’ve recently announced a further £15m investment in a similar PET facility near Sunderland – but we need more. This strategy will hopefully act as a catalyst to generate new infrastructure investment into plants for recycling, energy-from-waste schemes and, where necessary, safe disposal.

“We’ve also been calling for separate food waste collections for a long time so it’s positive to see this now included, as it is in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As regards other separate recycling collections, it will be important to consider the benefits of models currently used, allowing for appropriate mixed recycling collections, which have proved to be successful.

“Now government policy has been set out, we must work together across supply chains and public and private sectors to move from short-term, interim initiatives to fundamental, long term actions. We look forward to working with customers and policy-makers in the coming months as specific consultations on PRN reform, deposit return schemes and collection consistency are rolled out.”

Retailers: investment in recycling infastructure and transparency ‘key’

10:20 A number of measures included in the strategy are likely to impact the retail sector, including potential reform of the PRN system and implementation of a DRS system as well as the doubling of the 5p carrier bag charge.

Reform of the producer responsibility regime for packaging is likely to see producers cover a higher proportion of the cost of recycling of their products

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium says that in order to improve public confidence in recycling more transparency over funding and income from recycling will be necessary.

He said: “Retailers and consumers want to see a world with no plastic pollution and high levels of recycling; we, therefore, welcome a strategic approach to boosting the country’s recycling rates and waste management. Retailers are already making good progress towards this by removing, reducing and improving packaging, but we need Government coordination and investment to build our recycling capacity and consistency, and ensure local authorities have the support to help us all recycle more.

“However, the public must also be given further reassurances that the materials they are putting into their recycling bins are actually being recycled. The Government must be clear that the revenues raised from businesses through the proposals outlined will be reinvested into recycling infrastructure.”

On PRNs, he added: “Retailers want to do the right thing and know they have a responsibility to contribute more directly towards the costs of recycling and recovering packaging, alongside their work with suppliers in reducing packaging and removing plastics. We support a review of PRN to one that incentivises best practice – one that rewards retailers who use packaging that is easily recycled and disincentivises the use of less recyclable materials.”

ESA: welcome boost for recycling

10.10 Waste industry trade body the Environmental Services Association has described the strategy as a ‘welcome boost’ for recycling.

Jacob Hayler
Jacob Hayler, ESA

If implemented well, the new government strategy could set a long-term framework that supports more investment and jobs in vital recycling and recovery services and infrastructure, the organisation said.

Following the launch of the Strategy, ESA’s executive director, Jacob Hayler, said: “It’s important to understand that policy decisions in this important area can make a real difference to the economy. We now have the opportunity to boost recycling and cut waste – creating over 50,000 jobs with £8 billion private sector investment in the process – but for this to happen the high-level ambition in the strategy will need to be turned into detailed actions that matter”

Viridor: important policy framework

10.05 Resources and waste firm Viridor has said that the strategy will act as an ‘important framework to guide future investment’.

Phil Piddington, managing director of Viridor and chair of the ESA

Responding on behalf of the company, managing director Phil Piddington, said: “We welcome the direction set out in the strategy and are pleased that the government has listened to much of our and the wider industry’s representations. We are pleased to see the adoption of the ‘producer pays’ principle to cover the costs of recycling, steps to get plastics producers to include more recycled content in their products, and recognition of the role energy recovery plays in a balanced system. A more consistent approach to council collections and further measures to combat waste crime are also very welcome.

“This blueprint for the future helps to provide greater certainty for planned investment. Viridor will continue to play a leading role in support of the UK’s resource and energy efficiency goals, putting more recycled material back into a low carbon, circular economy.”

LGA: funding key to standardised services

09.45 The strategy includes a focus on waste from both businesses and councils. On behalf of local authorities, Cllr Martin Tett, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association said that funding will be key to achieving standardisation in recycling and waste collections.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA

Cllr Tett said: “The LGA has long called for businesses and manufacturers to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging, and we are pleased the Government has listened to us.

“Councils have been successful in increasing recycling levels and, alongside government, recognise that even more needs to be done to boost recycling to reach national targets and even higher standards.

“But moves to standardise waste services, including weekly food collections, need to be fully funded. Not every council area is currently able to recycle everything due to long-term contracts being held with different companies with different infrastructure available. Therefore, upfront funding is vital to making this work.

“It is crucial that any new system is phased in over time and still allows councils to determine how their local services work for residents, and takes account of the differences between inner city and rural areas.”

“Councils look forward to working with government to get any new recycling system right for residents.”

Creagh: ‘kicking the can’

Mary Creagh MP

09.29 Mary Creagh, the Labour MP and chair of the Environmental Audit Committee has criticised the timelines for action set out in the strategy.

Responding to the strategy this morning, she said: “The government appears to be kicking the waste can down the road yet again. The plastic bottle deposit return scheme promised in 2018 won’t be ready until 2023. Textile waste piling up in landfill won’t be tackled until even later. With scientists warning we have just 12 years to tackle climate change, this strategy is too little, too slowly.”

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