Headlines: June 16th, 2010

The Government is to look at the most effective ways of reducing waste and of maximising income from waste and recycling. The newly-announced review will also look at how waste policies affect local communities and individual households.

The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, said there was both an economic and an environmental urgency to developing the right waste policy. Figures from DEFRA show that last year 27.3 million tonnes of waste were collected by local authorities and that just over half of it was sent to landfill. Almost 37 per cent was recycled or composted and the rest was incinerated for energy recovery.

Ms Spelman said: “We have been slowly moving in the right direction with recycling rates. The direction of travel is right – it’s the pace that’s the problem. We need to go faster and we need to go further.” She said a new approach to waste was needed that worked for the new economy.

The review will look at the effect of waste policies on local communities and individual households and how councils can best work with local people to make the best decisions. It will also consider how to get the most out of the waste and recycling industries economically and environmentally as well as at new ways to deal with commercial waste, including responsibility deals to reduce levels of waste generated by producers and retailers. The review aims to plot how the country can work towards a “zero waste economy”.

Caroline Spelman added: “We have an unprecedented opportunity to create the green jobs, green growth, and take our share of the green jobs of the future.” The full terms of reference of the review will be published in the next few weeks.