For many of the main players in IT recycling and related areas like Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com), much attention has been taken up lately by the CIWM Conference 2013, at which a range of influential speakers were present. Among them were Environment Minister Lord de Mauley and Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh.
The Minister conceded in his speech the need for the Government to provide “continuity of Government policy” to encourage investment in the recycling sector. He added to attendees with an interest in fields like computer recycling that an investment symposium had recently been held by Defra, with the need for certainty in policy being one of the key conclusions.
He commented: “We are looking at the barriers to investment. There are opportunities for investment, but we recognise that continuity of Government policy is vital in this sector for investment.”
The Minister was also involved in a question and answer session, in which he admitted that a better understanding from Government of material flows was a necessity in order to realise a circular economy.
Referring to the consultation on the manner in which WRAP is to be funded during the next business period, he also described himself as “a huge fan of WRAP, but we have to look at how we focus the spending of WRAP.”
Creagh claimed to delegates involved in such areas as scrap metal recycling that the current Government was overseeing stalling progress on the development of a successful recycling and waste sector. She said that certainty and leadership were needed from the Government, especially in a period of restricted public finances.
She pinpointed the resources sector as one that “should be key to driving growth”, adding that national attitudes to waste had been “transformed” by the previous Labour administration – in contrast to the present Government’s “anti-regulatory and anti-environmental approach”.
“The 2011 Waste Review was a missed opportunity. They have agreed to do the bare minimum to meet the 50 per cent recycling target by 2020.
“Your area is part of the economy that is growing. I want a strategy on how we can get more green growth and jobs from your sector.”
She said that the introduction of a food waste hierarchy was being considered by Labour so that the priority would be the reduction of food waste, with humans using edible waste food via charities. Next in the hierarchy would be food waste for animals to use, and finally anything else, which anaerobic digestion would treat.
Experts in such sectors as cardboard recycling may also be interested to learn of the Shadow Environment Secretary’s call for comments on the Resource Security: Growth and Jobs from Waste Industries policy review being carried out by Labour.
The debate on the future of the recycling sector will doubtless continue in the run-up to the election – but in the meantime, businesses and organisations of all types are welcome to take advantage of the environmentally friendly, cost-effective and compliant copper recycling and other services of Collect and Recycle (http://www.collectandrecycle.com).