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Responsibility deal for sector is launched by Defra

Defra has today (23 June) launched a responsibility deal for the waste management sector, with the key aims of helping commercial and industrial (C&I) waste producers increase recycling rates and saving them £18bn in waste management costs.

To achieve a higher uptake of sustainable waste management measures across the C&I sector, Defra has pledged to work with business trade bodies to raise awareness of commercial waste producers’ responsibilities. The waste management industry will be expected to help its customers “do the right thing”.

Environment minister Lord Henley said: “This is a groundbreaking deal that will help to boost growth in the green economy. Businesses will benefit from more user-friendly waste management services and better advice on how to deal with their waste, while the Government will be looking for ways to recognise good performance by waste management companies and in particular to cut red tape for those who are doing the right thing.”

The deal, developed jointly by the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and Defra, follows on from aims set out in the waste review. Waste management firms which sign up to the voluntary deal will commit to:

  • a greater focus on waste prevention and resource efficiency with their customers
  • achieving higher rates of recycling by helping customers “do the right thing”
  • increase material quality levels, which includes the development of a Code of Practice for MRFs
  • further engage with local communities to improve or maintain a high level of public confidence in waste infrastructure

WRAP plans to research and publicise a range of innovative trade waste service models for waste management firms, social enterprises or local authorities to take on. The ESA and Defra are currently developing a business waste and recycling commitment, designed to communicate best practice principles when implementing waste services to businesses.

In addition, a Code of Practice for MRFs to develop quality measurement protocols on the input and output of MRFs will be developed by the ESA. In order to prevent MRFs not signed up to the code from undercutting those that are, local authorities will be encouraged to contract only with signatories.

Waste management firm Shanks welcomed the deal. Chief executive Tom Drury said: “The deal’s commitment to help businesses do the right thing is something we are passionate about.  A lot of businesses are unaware of the impact of waste on their bottom line, and through our ‘Recycling Stars’ programme, we are working with businesses large and small to provide advice on how to improve their recycling rates.

“The waste review was a missed opportunity in providing clear targets and timelines to help us become a zero-waste economy, but we are hopeful that this deal will go some way in delivering progress.”

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