The Manufacturers' Organisation (EEF) Today (9 January) published Defra's Waste Policy Review - six months on, which poses the question: is the government increasing the opportunity for sustainable waste management and resource efficiency in the manufacturing sector?
The report stated the EEF welcomed the Government's recognition of the need to value the resources in waste and attempts to review waste policy to achieve this, but saw the 2011 Review of Waste Policy in England (Review) as not doing enough to achieve this.
Of interest to manufacturers in the Review were commitments to promote better use of resources, to simplify regulation and improve access to infrastructure and services.
"However, these do not go far enough and fail to consider the practical experience of manufacturers," the Report states.
"We believe the development of a resource strategy, simplified legislation and the improved provision of infrastructure, services and advice can drive more sustainable resource use within manufacturing," were among the recommendations to the Government stated in the report.
EEF recognises the Review has made some progress in trying to improve the quality of recyclate, but the report published today states it has not fully identified how resources are being managed and "how materials could flow more easily within the economy, whilst still achieving protection of the environment. Regardless of the European policy context, government should seize the initiative to act quickly," it states.
It also commented of the strategic and regulatory framework for waste and resource use, saying it retains an "out-dated presumption that waste needs to be disposed of, typically to landfill. It is confusing, disjointed and can inadvertently act as a barrier to resource efficiency."
1. A resource strategy
Government should create a resource strategy that stimulates and rewards resource efficiency and removes the barriers to valuing waste as a resource.
2. Simplified, more targeted legislation
A new policy framework should be cohesive, value resources appropriately and allow for their efficient use. Legislation and guidance should be rebalanced, targeting responsibility deals and regulation where they are needed, while removing legislation where the outcome has been secured and there is little more to be gained. This is particularly relevant for packaging regulation. In addition, regulators should adopt new, better regulation approaches to help new and growing businesses come into regulatory compliance.
3. Provision of infrastructure, services and advice
The new Business Recycling and Waste Services Commitment on local authorities and the Responsibility Deal between government and the waste and resource management sector have the potential to improve access to infrastructure and services. Manufacturers should be able to access local authority waste infrastructure and receive a better service from their waste contractors. Government should also intervene to help establish a broader range of specialised waste treatment facilities and ensure that business support activities are backed by good communication, advice and funds.
Resource Efficient Society
The Report underlined that effective resource management is a challenge, economically and environmentally and that waste policies should increase the opportunity for sustainable resource management. "Business, and the UK economy as a whole, can benefit from competitive advantages through resource efficiency, as a result of reduced costs and access to new markets.
"Manufacturers such as Saint Gobain, Caterpillar, Bridon International Ltd, Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd and Siemens are already pursuing a range of successful zero waste policies and public commitments to improve environmental performance beyond legal requirements," the Report states.
The overall message of the Report pushes that more manufacturers would feel empowered to embrace the right strategic and regulatory framework if it were in place, and contribute to a "truly resource efficient society".
To view the full report CLICK HERE