Responses to the three-month consultation, which had over 4,000 submissions, were published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last week.
Variable charging received strong support from local authorities but a mixed response from the waste management industry. Some were strongly in favour of it while others preferred for the actual costs of waste management to be made more transparent, such as on council tax bills.
The Landfill tax escalator and Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) were recognised as being major drivers for local authorities. Some called for LATS to be applied to businesses and commercial and industrial waste. While others said resource efficiency should be targeted through taxation on materials and products. Financial penalties and incentives such as virgin material taxes, and variable levels of VAT were suggested.
Many respondents argued for compulsory waste reduction targets for companies such as supermarkets, with some suggestions for a tax on packaging. Plastics and packaging were also highlighted as priority targets for waste reduction and producer responsibility.
There was also support for more ambitious national targets, with some suggesting targets of 75% by 2015. However, the cost implications of this were raised, as was the possibility of making the targets volume instead of weight-based.
Energy from Waste received 3432 responses, mainly focused on its opposition. There were concerns that incineration was driving the strategy at the expense of more innovative technologies such as anaerobic digestion and gasification.
Defra plans to consider the responses and publish its revised Waste Strategy later this year.