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Waste should be 'designed out'

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has called on the Government and businesses to minimise waste by using materials more efficiently.

In its response to Defra’s call for evidence on England’s waste prevention programme, CIWEM said there was “too much focus on waste at the end of life” and claimed there were currently “perverse incentives that actually ecourage waste”.

It said the efficient and environmentally responsible use of materials must be independent of whether they are raw materials, products or waste.

CIWEM argued that businesses have “full authority to supply products with no environmental responsibility for their impact”. It said that more must be done to prevent waste by design and that both businesses and the government have a role in making the sustainable option “the default choice for consumers”.

Its response to Defra also argued local authorities “cannot continue to independently manage waste, and thus resources, with no real consideration of their wider impact”.

CIWEM executive director Nick Reeves said: “We live on a finite planet; our wastefulness cannot continue. This is our big opportunity to drive a new path to a more efficient, circular economy that will preserve our natural environment and define a more resourceful, resilient society. 

“Government must take the lead and do all it can to ensure that waste is minimised and bad behaviour changed for good.”

A recent CIWEM report on waste prevention advocated the government uses the waste prevention programme to look widely at resource issues rather than specific waste streams.

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