Thursday, October 22, 2009
The path to Britain becoming a zero waste nation was announced last week by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn at a summit of Local Authorities and the waste industry.
Hilary Benn said:
"We need to rethink how we view and treat waste in the UK. Why do we send valuable items like aluminium and food waste to landfill when we can turn them into new cans and renewable energy? Why use more resources than we need to in manufacturing? We must now work together to build a zero waste nation - where we reduce the resources we use, reuse and recycle all that we can and only landfill things that have absolutely no other use.
"To do this all of us - government, local authorities, businesses and consumers - must do our bit. And we must make this moment the turning point on our journey to eliminate wasteful waste.”
During a morning visit to Earls Court, Mr Benn showed his support for an updated BSI sustainable event standard which is designed to ensure that the events industry considers the social, economic and environmental impacts of their events.
Mr Benn continued:
"Using new technologies will help us to re-use things, for example anaerobic digestion that creates energy from food and farm waste. And businesses can apply the technology at their fingertips to design innovative products that use less resources or contain recycled materials.
"In ten years time 75 per cent of household waste will either be recycled or used for energy, and over time this figure will increase even further. Aiming for zero waste is the way we have to think to get us to where we need to be."
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government John Denham added:
"If we continue to send recyclable or compostable waste to landfill we are missing a major opportunity to generate heat and energy and missing an opportunity to turn that waste into money. We can save planet whilst keeping money in resident’s pockets.
“I have recently set out ambitions for councils to play a bigger role in tackling climate change and thinking more creatively about waste is just one way to unlock that potential.”
Setting out how the UK can become a zero waste nation where people can do the right thing with their waste whether at work, home or on the move, Mr Benn said:
* England should more than halve the amount of waste going to landfill in the next 10 years – early next year we will consult on what recyclable and compostable items should be banned from landfill and how a ban will work.
* In ten years time 75 per cent of household waste will either be recycled or used for energy, and over time this figure will increase even further.
* Six new Zero Waste Places in parts of Shropshire, Dorchester, Brixton, Newham, Hoxton and Suffolk will be created to develop innovative ideas to cut waste in the home, workplace and community.
* A new Zero Waste Places Standard for Local Authorities will also recognise areas which are going above and beyond national waste targets while supporting them with small grants for further development.
* New research out today shows it is possible to divert 500,000 tonnes of household waste per year through re-using it.
* Later this month a new public campaign will be launched, aimed at encouraging people to rethink their approach to waste by reducing and reusing the waste they create as well continuing to recycle as much as they can.
* The Government expects Local Authorities to offer a full collection service for all recyclable items by 2020. This should include paper, card, cans, glass and plastic bottles, food and packaging. We will encourage Local Authorities in collecting food waste to make use of the technology and funding available to them to harness the power of energy from waste.
* Publication of our aims and actions for Commercial and Industrial Waste in England. This will help businesses to use resources more efficiently and encourage them to think about what they do with their waste as well as delivering benefits for the environment. Actions cover four areas: helping business; working with the waste management industry; plugging the data gap; and encouraging innovative approaches.