Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has set out plans to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill, which currently amounts to 54 million tonnes a year in England alone.
The proposal published by Defra, which argues that too many everyday waste materials end up in landfill when there is a market and environmental reasons to recycle them, suggests imposing mandatory waste separation rules could reduce the amount sent to landfill, saving the British economy up to £187m a year.
“So much of what we throw away has an economic value or can be re-used, but instead we are burying it,” Benn said. “I want to make it easier for us all to do the right thing and I am making it very clear today that any obligation to sort waste would fall primarily on the waste collection authority and on businesses, and not the individual householder.”
Recycling space and organisation
Hannah Bass, operations director for ETM group, the collection of pubs and restaurants owned by brothers Ed and Tom Martin, said any effort to reduce landfill waste was commendable, but local authorities would have to support businesses if changes were to be met.
“Recycling across a number of different sized sites is a huge challenge already, and some of our pubs have very little space to store waste behind the scenes,” she said. “You obviously want to get waste out of your property as soon as possible or you’ll end up attracting vermin, but we find that collection times from different local authorities makes recycling difficult.
“We would probably need to review the way we work, and work very closely with our waste management company, but we would also need a lot more assistance and guidance from the local authorities. As an industry we are already having to comply with so many regulations but there’s a lot of red tape that only seems to be getting more restrictive.
“The implications of this will also depend on what sort of timeline they give businesses to make the changes,” she added.
As yet there are no proposals to impose a fine on those businesses flouting the ban. The consultation will run for 12 weeks, closing on 10 June 2010.