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Viridor welcomes the clear ambition laid out in the 25-Year Environment Plan, and especially the Government’s commitment to publish a new Resources and Waste strategy in 2018 aimed at making the UK a world leader in resource efficiency. Viridor, and its parent company Pennon, has previously urged the Government to put resource productivity at the heart of its modern industrial strategy.
A focus on practical measures (policies and regulatory frameworks) will be essential to promote greater re-use and recycling of resources, enabled by improved standardisation of collections and practical measures such as extended producer responsibility, and balancing this with vital capacity, skills and expertise in energy from waste infrastructure to efficiently deal with non-recyclable waste streams.
Practical measures Viridor has called for include:
- Standardisation of recycling systems. This would boost recycling rates by reducing consumer confusion and enabling effective economies of scale and local/national communication campaigns. Viridor’s Recycling Index has identified consumers’ high levels of frustration due to the myriad of systems. Greater standardisation will enable the aggregation of services, improved quality and boost the markets for secondary materials.
- Green procurement standards. Public procurement targets for major projects and supply services should include specified use of secondary materials. UK manufacturers and contractors are increasingly expressing interest in the use of secondary materials and this positive intervention from Government would support and stimulate markets.
- Differential VAT. Reduced rates of VAT rates for products that use high levels of secondary materials in their packaging would incentivise converters and manufacturers to the benefit of consumers and resource productivity.
- A comprehensive post-Brexit policy framework. Seizing the opportunities that come from leaving the European Union, the Resources and Waste Strategy should reframe waste policy clearly around UK resource productivity. The purpose of policy should be to help businesses identify and deliver genuine cost savings through improvements in the way that resources are used and waste is managed. Shifting to resource productivity would bring waste policy in line with the emerging Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Plan.
- Creating a balance between reduction, recycling and recovery. The overall aim of the Resources and Waste Strategy should be to create an appropriate balance between better product and policy design for reduction, recycling and energy recovery, recognising that they are complementary.
Viridor looks forward to more clarity on the policy and regulatory measures which will translate ambition into reality. Improved resource productivity will deliver environmental benefits as we move to a low carbon UK economy, contribute to the security of our energy and vital resources supply, and support jobs and supply chain opportunities across the country.