Waste Management

  • New ESA report asks “what will it take for councils to hit future recycling targets”

New ESA report asks “what will it take for councils to hit future recycling targets”

May 29 2018 Read 1635 Times

The Environmental Services Association (ESA), the voice for the UK’s resource and waste management industry, today launched the first of 2 new reports looking at what it will take to meet the (weight based) recycling targets proposed by the EU Circular Economy Package.

The report, ‘An economic assessment and feasibility study of how the UK could meet the Circular Economy Package recycling targets’, written by Ricardo Energy and Environment, covers a wide range of topics and issues, including:

• That over half of councils will be able to meet the target of 60% recycling at no additional cost - but only if they are willing to make the necessary changes to their services. Changes that councils could make include reducing the frequency of waste collections to make the savings that could pay for additional recycling services.

• How critical it is that all the materials we collect for recycling are actually recycled into new products. If we don’t have these end markets for recycled materials then there is no point increasing collections.

• That the current weight based system incentivises the collection of heavy low value materials such as garden waste some of which we should for example be composting at home if we can.

ESA’s Executive Director, Jacob Hayler said:

“The UK is struggling to meet the EU’s existing targets for 50% household recycling. This is largely due to a historic lack of funding and policy support in England – particularly on end-markets for recyclates – essential to driving recycling rates higher.

Current policy delivers current outcomes. If we want higher recycling rates then we will need fresh interventions and additional funding. This report investigates precisely what additional costs and interventions would be required to meet the higher weight-based recycling targets contained in the forthcoming EU Circular Economy Package.

“In all scenarios there will be a need to manage waste that cannot be practically or economically recycled – this black bag waste is estimated to be as much as 9.5 million tonnes by 2030, - that’s enough waste to fill Wembley stadium over 9 times right up to the roof! Currently this waste is turned into energy which is a good outcome - but much is still landfilled.”

The second report will look at how we can recycle smarter by focussing on the materials that do the most damage and from which we can gain the most value from recycling.

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