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Suez manifesto urges waste 'revolution'

Waste firm Suez has backed a system of pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) for household residual waste as part of a series of measures which the company claims could be worth £9bn to the UK economy.

Suez UK David Palmer-Jones (pictured) described the ideas in the company’s manifesto A Vision for England’s Long-Term Resources and Waste Strategy as heralding “a revolution” in attitudes to waste, which could be used in the Government’s strategy expected in the autumn.

The manifesto said that national recycling targets should be set and a proportion allocated to each local authority according to its ability to recycle.

Suez said there should be a 55% recycling target by 2025, based on weight. 

It also wants to reduce the amount of household residual waste to a maxium of 45% by 2025, falling to 30% by 2030.

A Suez spokesman said the company’s support for PAYT was a key difference of view with trade body the Environmental Services Association.

The manifesto will be used to support arguments that Suez will raise at meetings with officials from Defra and other Government departments. The company has invited major retailers and manufacturers to these meetings.

The manifesto said a “multitude of different collection systems can, and should, be utilised in a plethora of combinations”, with weighing of all containers for target materials and a requirement to move to pay-by-weight for residual waste and target material collections.

“The weighing of all individual containers will quantify the volumes of materials being generated and the introduction of pay-by-weight will proportionally reward behaviour and resource recovery,” it added.

PAYT regimes would be enabled by weighing individual businesses’ and households’ residual waste through a ‘chip-and-bin’ system.

Suez also gave support to the introduction of a deposit return scheme for on-the-go packaging.

Palmer-Jones said: “We envisage a revolution, where the notion of ‘waste’ is consigned to the bin and, instead, we truly value the materials flowing around the economy.

“To move from a throwaway society to a circular economy, we must view the materials we consume as precious resources, paid for through natural capital, and capture, reuse and recycle rather than squandering them.

“Taking care of the environment makes economic sense and we estimate could add £9bn to the UK economy – placing this issue at the heart of a modern industrial strategy.”

The manifesto sets out 22 policy proposals including minimum recycled content in packaging and all packaging being recyclable by 2030, a tax on use of virgin materials in products, VAT relief for repair/reuse schemes and use of packaging recovery note funds to support recycling infrastructure.

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