Members of the third sector have welcomed the Governments consultation on the revised Waste Framework Directive which proposes to change the waste hierarchy to include preparing for reuse.
Under the new proposals the revised WFD formally incorporates a five stage waste hierarchy, ranging from prevention to disposal. Preparing for reuse will replace reuse in the waste hierarchy (see MRW story).
London Community Resource Network chief executive Matthew Thomson told MRW: Defra seem to be taking a strategic approach to this which hopefully offers an opportunity to link their useful waste prevention and sustainable consumption and production values with the waste investment and implementation programmes [Defra-run programmes to divert waste from landfill] , which do not seem to uniformly uphold those values. Defras strategic approach may also give local authorities a clearer sense of what the real priorities should be in cutting waste.
Defra is moving quickly to use the WFD as an opportunity to reform a range of waste legislation and to transpose the directive ahead of the deadline (12 December 2010). This gives the UK an opportunity to become a leader within Europe in the production and processing sectors affected and as thought leaders in the rethink about what constitutes waste.
The LCRN is a network of voluntary and community groups, social enterprises and engaged citizens tackling waste.
The consultation states that the significance of changes to the reuse definition will make a distinction between the reuse of products or components as non-waste with reuse in this way being outside the scope of waste management controls and the preparing for reuse of products or components that have been discarded and have become waste.
Furniture Re-use Network [national body that supports charitable reuse organisations] enterprise director Craig Anderson said: Evidently, this consultation shows there is a great deal of intent to support reuse in England and Wales and hopefully the rest of the UK; what FRN now wants to see is how legislative and practical methods can be devised and used to build on the current reuse infrastructure and ensure this country continues to lead by example where reuse is concerned."
A Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse spokesman said: The CRR very much welcomes the new proposals on the WFD. Distinguishing reuse and preparation for reuse in the hierarchy is recognition of the confusion in the treatment of products. Many reusable products never reach waste collection facilities and are thus never counted in waste statistics as is typical of highly profitable reuse business in automotive, aerospace, pumps and other industrial engineering. In this respect they count towards waste prevention. Products and components that do reach waste facilities are counted as waste but, with suitable preparation and treatment, can become perfectly reusable. Elements of the waste electrical and electronic equipment could be in this category. Making this distinction should be a great aid to clarifying and targeting policy towards higher value added activities.