Labour has set out its thinking this week on resource security - which has been colloquially called a ‘waste review’.
Labour has set out its thinking this week on resource security - which has been colloquially called a ‘waste review’. There cannot be much controversy in the document because the party has chosen to “explore and consider” policies rather than commit to specifics.
Labour argues that the coalition’s 2011 Waste Review missed an opportunity to drive innovation and boost investor confidence. Policy areas now “under consideration” include tougher household recycling targets, the export of recyclates and feedstock quality - all requiring co-operation from a number of stakeholders.
But it is in the efforts to design-out waste that would-be ministers can be most proactive, by ensuring Whitehall’s own procurement standards drive up the repairability and recyclability of products. A waste review will not win many votes, but it is vital that resource management is fundamental to any Government’s economic policies. On that score alone, Labour is clearly on the right track.
Another policy development was the opening of consultation on the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. It was no surprise that the business department (BIS) would seek only to meet the minimum requirements from Brussels. But even one of the key ones - a collection target of 85% of WEEE generated from 2019 onwards - is ambitious.
BIS has noted claims from producers that the current cost of paying for the collection, treatment, recovery and recycling of their WEEE through producer compliance schemes is “often much higher than the true costs of processing WEEE”. We have all got until 21 June to have our say.