The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has called for a fundamental review of how waste services are managed.
Launching its Resources and Waste policy position, the Association has outlined its support for an Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme (EPRS), which would see the costs of collection, recycling and disposal of packaging met by producers rather than councils.
ADEPT President Neil Gibson said: “We all know that the funding system for place based services is under unprecedented pressure and waste is no exception.
“Local authorities have to make tough decisions about where budget is spent. However, in order to continue to provide the waste and recycling services that the public expect, current systems need to change.
“Responsibility for managing packaging must lie with the producer. Not only will this reduce the burden on local authorities, but will also provide incentives for long-term investment and give markets greater certainty.”
The paper will inform ADEPT’s response to Defra when it consults on various aspects of the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, which was launched last month.
ADEPT wants to see greater investment in the UK’s own waste processing capacity, particularly with so much uncertainty in the current climate.
Paula Hewitt, Chair of ADEPT’s Environment Board said: “Increasing our own ability to reprocess recyclables is essential if we truly want to create a circular economy in the UK.
“We have to reduce our reliance on overseas markets for managing waste and recyclables. Energy from waste technology offers both energy security and a reduction in the environmental impact of transporting our waste abroad, so it is critical that councils and their partners are not subject to an ‘incineration tax’.
“If properly resourced and implemented, the range of measures that are considered in the Government’s strategy will contribute greatly to growing a green economy, but we will continue to resist extra burdens being placed on hard-pressed local authorities.”
David Ogden, Business Director for Amey said: “We welcome and echo ADEPT’s response to the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy. The policy paper maintains the focus on local authorities remaining as the guiding role in the delivery of waste management services, but operating within a clearer policy and governance framework.
“We’re acutely aware of the role we must all play to make the best use of resources across their lifecycle. Businesses and local authorities must exercise leadership with the support of Government to make this happen and to ensure the successful implementation of the UK’s Resources and Waste Strategy.”
Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Veolia said: "ADEPT's policy position highlights that the government has listened to local authorities and industry in its Resources & Waste Strategy. The stage is set for success if funds are delivered in the right place - to those that implement policy - and a simple system developed. The next critical step is to engage in the upcoming consultations to ensure packaging is more recyclable, is collected more consistently and ultimately more recyclable material is reprocessed into new products.
"As an investor in the UK Veolia is ready to take advantage of new technology, build more infrastructure and work with local authorities to harness resources on an industrial scale and the rest of the supply chain needs to play its part too."
Paul Taylor, Group Chief Executive of FCC Environment said “The Resources and Waste Strategy marks an important step forward in making the UK a more resource efficient nation and ADEPT’s response reflects the views of many of us from across the sector.
“ADEPT is right to highlight that the planned interventions in extending producer responsibility, increasing waste processing capacity and many other initiatives are major steps forward.
“Whilst we know the Strategy will have significant implications for local recycling and waste collection and sustainability, the detail will largely be revealed in future policy consultations. So, there is now much work to be done to turn the Government’s ambition into a reality and the ADEPT Policy Paper is good starting point.”
ADEPT's Resources and Waste policy position document can be downloaded here.