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English waste management “not up to task”

February 5, 2016

Recycling-Bins-780x585A paper from renewable energy company Viridor has criticised the way waste is managed in the UK.

Student Times reported on the paper from Viridor, which calls for systems for waste management in England “to be replaced with a new and ambitious model that moves resource management beyond local authority boundaries”, because current systems are “no longer fit for purpose”. The company adds that changing this would realise “the economic potential for British business, manufacturers and public sector bodies”.

Viridor adds that “an aggregated services model is a necessity if we are to build progressive policies in recycling and resources”, as well “realise the business, productivity and employment benefits of a developing circular economy”. English recycling policy “remains largely based on assumptions about resources”, which “reinforce expensive resource management contracts and waste collections based on authority boundaries”, which are “not representative of the value of resources”

The current “flatlining” recycling rate, of 44.8 percent, means England “stands at a crossroads”, with Viridor recommending that “collection and processing systems will need to operate in a more aggregated manner to meet the needs of quality-focused reprocessors and manufacturers”. In turn, it believes that “fully-integrated resource networks” should look at Europe’s “largest public/private resource partnership” in Manchester for inspiration.

The resource networks, it adds, would “see local authorities, business and regulators working at scale to deliver efficiencies in real resource management”, offering “the potential” for “fresh impetus for England’s resources policy”, as well as “taking advantage of an emerging EU circular economy framework”. Its final recommendation is that the government “prioritise the development of fully-integrated English resource networks”.

Chris Jonas, Director of Business Development at Viridor, commented: “Resource policy in England stands at a crossroads. Whilst progress in recycling has been a real UK success story up to a point, we now face a future with the potential for significant success or substantial failure. Ambitious resource networks hold the prospect of boosting British business, building better regulation, improving productivity and creating up to half a million jobs.

“By contrast, retaining outdated policy and systems based on outdated assumptions will do little other than reinforce linear waste management systems that were designed for a bygone era when collections were based on geographic areas and an overall objective of reducing transport and disposal costs. Our paper calls for decisive action and illustrates how fully-integrated Resource Networks, focused on the availability of high quality materials rather than local authority boundaries, would have a huge impact in delivering a truly circular economy.

“There is a significant opportunity for England’s politicians to commit to the adoption of Resource Networks that would boost British business, productivity and jobs and position the country as a leader in resource stewardship.”

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