The Liberal Democrats have backed plans to set up an independent committee to recommend binding targets for reducing waste consumption at its Autumn Conference.
It hopes that an independent Resource Efficiency Committee will identify key resources being used unsustainably and have the power to recommend recycling targets among other things.
The party proposes that the REC will bring together agencies such as the Waste & Resources Action Programme and Envirowise to work with businesses of all sizes to help them both reduce costs and make a step change to resource efficiency.
The Lib Dems set out their ideas in its environmental paper Our national heritage: Policies on the natural environment (see MRW story).
Shadow Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Tim Farron said: The natural environment is being degraded in many ways, not only locally but also through the UKs massive ecological impact on the rest of the world. It is clear that we all need to live in ways that put less stress on the planets resources.
That means compelling companies and public bodies to manage scarce resources more efficiently and giving more power to people to shape the decisions that affect the natural world around them.
Other Lib Dem waste policies include:
- Giving top-tier local authorities a statutory duty to develop resource recovery plans for all types of waste in their area to maximise the recovery of useful resources and bring efficiencies of scale;
- Strongly supporting the waste hierarchy; making waste reduction a priority ahead of re-use, followed by household and business recycling then mechanical sorting of waste for recycling, and finally obtaining energy from residual waste; and
- Setting sustainable design standards for key products and requiring specified products to be sold with parts of labour guarantees for at least five years to ensure people benefit from products which are made to last.