ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (News Release ref :
148/07) issued by The Government News Network on 24 May 2007
Secretary David Miliband today published a new strategy for
cutting waste, and said that everyone - businesses, individuals,
local authorities and the Government - has a role to play by
reducing the waste they produce. He said that this would be an
essential part of the drive to tackle climate change - landfilled
waste is a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, while
reducing and recycling waste saves energy and raw materials.
Following calls from local authorities, the Government is also
launching a parallel public consultation on removing the ban on
local authorities introducing financial incentives for recycling.
Any such schemes will have to return all revenues back to local residents.
The main points of the waste strategy include:
* More effective incentives for individuals and businesses to
recycle waste, leading to at least 40 per cent of household waste
recycled or composted by 2010, rising to 50 per cent by 2020. This
is a significant increase on the targets in the previous waste
strategy, published in 2000.
* A greater responsibility on businesses for the environmental
impact of their products and operations through, for example, a
drive to minimise packaging and higher targets for recycling packaging.
* A strong emphasis on waste prevention with householders
reducing their waste (for example, through home composting and
reducing food waste) and business helping consumers, for example,
with less packaging. There will also be a new national target to
help measure this - to reduce the amount of household waste not
re-used, recycled or composted from 22.2 million tonnes in 2000 to
12.2 million tonnes by 2020 - a reduction of 45 per cent.
* Government has agreed with the Direct Marketing Association to
develop a service so that people will be able to opt-out of
receiving unaddressed as well as addressed direct mail. The
Government is also considering moving towards an approach where
people would only get direct mail if they opted in by placing
their name on the direct mail register.
* Working with retailers for the end of free single use bags.
This could involve retailers only selling long-life bags, or
retailers charging for disposable bags and using the proceeds to
sell long-life bags at a discount.
* A challenge to see recycling extended from the home and office
and taken into public areas like shopping malls, train stations
and cinema multiplexes, so that it becomes a natural part of
everyday life. To help deliver this, the Government is working
with owners of public spaces to draw up guidance and a voluntary
code of practice to be published by the end of the year. Groups
including the Airport Operators Association, British Council of
Shopping Centres, Earls Court and Olympia Group, Highways Agency
and the Local Government Association have already come out in
support of this. In particular, the Royal Parks has committed to
putting recycling bins in all its parks within the next 12 months
and the Association of Event Venues says its members plan to
install recycling bins for waste brought in by audiences at major events.
* Subject to further analysis and consultation, banning
biodegradable and recyclable waste from being put into landfill sites.
* An increase in the landfill tax escalator by £8 per year from
2008 until at least 2010/11 - announced by the Chancellor in
March. Partly as a result of this, business waste landfilled is
expected to fall by 20 per cent by 2010 compared with 2004.
* Increasing the amount of energy produced by a variety of energy
from waste schemes, using waste that can't be reused or
recycled. It is expected that from 2020 a quarter of municipal
waste - waste collected by local authorities, mainly from
households - will produce energy, compared to 10 per cent today.
David Miliband said:
"We need to not only recycle and reuse waste, but also
prevent it in the first place. And there's a particular
challenge for businesses to produce less waste with their
products, so consumers have less of it to dispose of.
"The result will be a win for individuals, who will have a
cleaner, safer local environment, while potentially saving money,
and a win for the wider environment because it'll reduce
landfilled waste which contributes to climate change.
"This strategy sets out how we can achieve this. It provides
a range of tools for local authorities, businesses and individuals
to do the job. It calls for action from all, without imposing
"It empowers local authorities to make the right decisions
for local circumstances in consultation with their local populations."
The waste strategy also sets out the Government's view that
there are strong environmental arguments for encouraging more
separate collection of food waste to boost composting and
anaerobic digestion. Where food is collected separately, evidence
suggests higher recovery levels are achieved by collecting it weekly.
Despite significant progress in recent years - household
recycling has quadrupled in England in the last 10 years - the UK
still lags behind much of Europe on recycling.
Removing the ban on local authorities introducing financial
incentive schemes, would see those who recycle more and produce
less residual waste, getting money back. Experience in other
countries shows such schemes boost recycling and reduce waste
overall - cutting the cost of waste disposal to councils and householders.
The strategy makes clear that initiatives to boost recycling
should be supported by effective action to prevent fly tipping and
the illegal dumping of waste.
It also outlines action the Government proposes for its own
estate - a 25 per cent reduction in waste by 2020 and 75 per cent
of waste recycled by 2020. The Government will also use its
considerable buying power to stimulate the market for recycled products.
Delivery of the strategy will be overseen by a new Waste Strategy
Board, made up of experts from across Whitehall, with two external
members. The board will be supported by a Waste Stakeholder Group
- to include representatives of the main stakeholder organisations
- that will provide advice and act as a critical friend.
Notes to editors
1. The waste strategy and consultation paper on incentives for
recycling by households and accompanying partial regulatory impact
assessment can be accessed at http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/strategy/ .
2. Contributions to the consultation on household incentives
should be sent to:
E-mail: LAWFG@defra.gsi.gov.uk. E-mail responses should be
clearly marked 'Incentives for Recycling by Households -
Consultation Responses'. Fax: 020 7082 8764
Post: Local Authority Waste Funding and Governance Team,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Zone 6/F15,
Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.
The closing date for contributions is Thursday 16 August 2007.
3. WRAP has today published a report, Managing Biowastes from
Households in the UK: Applying Life-cycle Thinking in the
Framework of Cost-benefit Analysis. The research suggests that
where food waste is collected separately, the frequency of
collection should be higher than for residual waste. Systems where
food waste is collected weekly and residual waste fortnightly are
likely to be convenient for residents, increase the capture of
food waste and be the most cost-effective. The report, along with
other relevant studies, can be accessed at http://www.wrap.org.uk/biowaste
Public enquiries 08459 335577;
Press notices are available on our website http://www.defra.gov.uk
Defra's aim is sustainable development
To subscribe or unsubscribe to Defra's mailing list go to:
Once on the GNN website see Sign up
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR