One of the strongest messages to emerge from sessions at the RWM show was that in conversations with government the industry needs to talk not about waste or the environment but about growth.
This means emphasising waste as a resource, and the importance that resource management has for individual businesses and in the wider economy, and the potential the industry has to drive economic growth.
It is therefore significant that in the government’s reshuffle the waste minister position has been replaced by the new role of resource management minister (page 5), who will also take responsibility for sustainable consumption and production. Speaking to MRW after the announcement, a Defra spokesman confirmed that the new wording was intended to emphasise the department’s focus on economic growth.
It is a great shame to lose Lord Taylor, who showed himself to be interested and engaged in the issues facing the industry, after such a short time as waste minister. His replacement Lord de Mauley will need to quickly get to grips with the issues but, as inaugural resources minister, he has an opportunity to recognise the important contribution that the industry can make.
Elsewhere in government, there has been some progress in the long conversation about metal theft. The date for the cash ban has been finalised as 3 December. The controversy about the ban continues, but the clarity on the date is welcome. Now businesses must begin in earnest to prepare. For its part government must ensure that the other measures, due to be introduced in the new year, do not slip. If the gap widens the problem is likely to get worse not better.