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Business waste strategy needs overhaul

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The government has been urged to carry out a radical review of its strategy for dealing with waste so businesses can benefit from the opportunities that resource management has to offer.

The call has come from the EEF, the manufacturing employers’ organisation.

The EEF claimed that, two years after the government’s Strategy for Waste was first published, a number of the policies are still to be introduced and that some of those that have been implemented do not contribute to managing waste as efficiently as intended.

In its report on business waste management, the EEF has set out a number of recommendations. The business group said that waste should stop being seen as a problem and should instead be regarded as a valuable resource.

The report proposes that the government should provide a clear and long-term resource management strategy.

This would include simplifying the rules on waste management, speeding up the delivery of the necessary services for recovering useful resources from waste, offering advice and support on eco-design, process re-engineering and R&D funding, and encouraging the demand for resource efficient products.

A recent EEF survey showed that over 96 per cent of its members have, or are planning to, take action on waste management.

Half of those surveyed reported they have already introduced waste prevention, reuse and recycling policies in their businesses.

However, as the EEF pointed put, the UK still trails behind many of its European neighbours when it comes to the recovery of waste.

Vanessa Fandrich, the EEF’s climate and environment policy adviser, said: “Sustainable use and management of waste and resources is one of the most pressing challenges facing the UK. This country produces 335 million tonnes of waste annually; cutting this waste is not just critical for sustainable development but can significantly cut costs to business, something that is vital in the current economic climate.

“Two years on the government’s strategy lacks a clear direction. We are still waiting for the government to bring forward credible policies to improve resource efficient business waste management.”

Ms Fandrich added: “UK manufacturers are already taking on the challenge of sustainable resource use and waste management but they are looking to government to ensure that the policy framework provides the right climate for industry to take this to the next level.”