Environment Secretary Announces Circular Economy Waste Strategy

by Dec 18, 2018Legal Updates, Policies, Sustainable0 comments

Environment Secretary Announces Circular Economy Waste Strategy

The government’s new Resource and Waste Strategy has been launched today. The key aims of the strategy are to minimise waste, use resources more efficiently, and adopt a circular economy approach. This means moving away from the linear take, make, use, throw model, towards re-use, remanufacture, repair, recycle.

Some key pledges from this include:

–          A deposit return scheme for plastic bottles, cans, and cups

–          Food waste collections for all households in all authorities

–          Producers taking ownership for packaging – indicating the adoption of more of a lifecycle perspective. This will include a ‘polluter pays’ ideology

–          £8 million funding for research into alternative methods of producing, using, and disposing plastic

–          £10 million more for plastic R&D

–          £10 million funding for research into new methods of boosting recycling and tackling waste (for instance, smart bins)

Michael Gove stated that: “Our strategy sets out how we will go further and faster, to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Together we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource.”

This is a huge step for the government, and highlights commitment towards tackling some of the key environmental issues that we currently face. The timelines for the changes to be implemented is 5 years – i.e. by 2023. This will then contribute towards the wider goals as follows:

  • To eliminate food waste to landfill by 2030
  • To ensure any plastic packaging that is on the market is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
  • To double the productivity and efficiency of resources by 2050
  • To eliminate unavoidable plastic over the lifespan of the 25 year plan
  • To eliminate unavoidable waste overall by 2050.

There has however been some critique, with many saying that this timeline of 5 years is too long, and that action should be taken sooner rather than later, particularly given the waring that we have 12 years to tackle climate change and keep within the 1.5 degree target. Furthermore, appropriate funding and support needs to be given to local authorities around England in order to truly make this a reality. Some also argue that there needs to be even more emphasis on cutting down plastic production itself.

The proposed strategies are necessary and need to be properly followed through in order to make as much of an impact as possible towards a resource efficient and sustainable future.

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