Defra has responded to concerns expressed by local authority waste heads about more substantial waste collections by councils and flattening recycling rates, by expressing confidence that it will meet 2020 landfill reduction targets, reports one of the leading waste disposal companies, Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com).
This week (25 July) saw the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) write a letter to Defra minister Owen Paterson, claiming government waste and recycling data to be “out of date” and in urgent need of review.
According to ADEPT, the country could be left “unable to avoid potentially crippling landfill fines in the future”, due to what it described as key waste policy and investment decisions within government being informed by old household waste trends.
However, Defra has defended its analysis as accurate, stating that UK landfill rates continued to decline as recycling rates in England rose. The Landfill Directive dictates the UK’s need to reduce landfilled biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) to 50 per cent of the 1995 level by 2013, and to 35 per cent of the 1995 level by the end of this decade.
ADEPT stated that when the first three quarters of 2012/13 were compared to the equivalent period in 2011/12, it was shown that for 17 of the 33 waste disposal authorities for which reported data was found, overall waste arisings of local authority collected waste had increased.
The letter added that recycling rates had reduced for 169 authorities submitting data for the whole of 2012/13, as well as that there had been increased levels of total collected residual waste for 140 of 260 local authorities to have submitted fourth quarter data.
ADEPT’s analysis of current UK recycling and waste trends has won backing from both the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and waste management industry representatives, the Environmental Services Association (ESA). But Defra has argued that its data is not out of date.
A Defra spokeswoman commented: “We are confident that our landfill target will be met and our recent analysis supports this.
“It takes into account the risks posed by changes in waste trends and infrastructure and shows that we are continuing to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and that household recycling rates in England are increasing.”
The ADEPT letter to Defra also raised concerns about the UK’s waste treatment capacity, while there was also criticism for the decision to withdraw waste infrastructure credits worth millions of pounds from Merseyside, Bradford and Yorkshire residual waste projects.
Here at Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), we have an enduring passion in ensuring that UK recycling rates remain high and rise to meet future landfill reduction targets. Companies that take advantage of our cost-effective, safe and completely legally compliant waste services are able to make their own contribution towards this goal.