Barriers to achieving zero waste should be broken down, says the manufacturers’ body EEF as EU Directive on waste treatment comes into effect.
A European Directive has this week introduced a legal obligation for all organisations and businesses located inside the EU to consider a range of options known as the ‘waste hierarchy’ before sending their waste to landfill as a last option.
While this is practice is commonplace in many manufacturing businesses, before today it has not been a legal requirement.
Previous rates of recycling and avoidance of sending waste to landfill, especially among larger companies, have been relatively impressive – data show that between 2002 and 2009 the amount of waste produced by manufacturing fell by 23%, whilst the amount sent to landfill fell by 43%. However, a number of SMEs have limited access to Local Authority facilities that allow them to recycle.
EEF head of Climate & Environment Gareth Stace said that although many businesses had made progress with waste management and breaking barriers to achieving zero waste, there was still a lot of ground to be covered by the Government.
Calling on the Government to “leap forward” and “shake up” what he called a “stagnant” area of policy, Mr Stace said: “£23bn of efficiency savings identified by government will largely be forgotten unless a clear understanding of why such a significant figure can still exists and the barriers that need to be removed for manufacturers to readily access these savings.”
“Regulatory burdens need to be eased where possible and government needs to raise the profile of waste as an issue,” he added.