EFRA Select Committtee Criticises Defra Waste Policy

The EFRA Select Committee has today released a report criticising Defra’s waste policy, stating that the Department’s strategy has no clear targets for the reduction of England’s waste and instead concentrates efforts on improving recycling rates for domestic waste, which accounts for only 10% of total waste produced.

Commenting on the launch of their report on the Waste Strategy for England 2007, the Chair of the EFRA Committee, Michael Jack MP, said “Defra must…encourage companies to take a completely new view of waste and see it as a valuable source of raw material which must not be squandered in these difficult economic times.”

The report praises householders for increasing their recycling levels to nearly 37% and urges the Government to set stringent recycling targets of 50% by 2015 and 60% by 2020. To facilitate this, Councils must explain clearly to the public what it costs to collect and dispose of each bin, bag or wheelie bin of waste. The benefits that arise from households reducing their waste volumes must be explained to them.

Amongst other measures, the report urges Government to set a target for the mandatory collection of food waste and supply advice, education and practical support to householders in managing food waste – for example by encouraging composting and supplying low-cost composting equipment to facilitate this. The report also calls for Government to re-examine the case for imposing lower levels of duty on waste-derived fuel oil. Finally, the Committee suggests that the Government evaluate the practicalities of imposing a small ‘clean up’ duty on products such as cigarettes, whose packaging contributes the largest volumes of litter, to support work by local authorities to clean up their neighbourhoods.