The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has welcomed the findings of a report on Waste Management in England produced by the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee of the House of Commons.
The report is the result of an inquiry that was started after Defra announced that it planned to step back from some areas of waste management. It looked at the recycling approaches currently in existence and the way municipal waste is currently treated in England, along with the likely impact of a reduction in Defra activities in relation to municipal waste management. This matter concerns many members of the packaging industry, from those using the most technologically advanced packaging machinery equipment to smaller operations that must still comply with waste management targets for the future.
The report goes against the government’s decision, suggesting that the plans could put in jeopardy the 50 per cent recycling targets set by the EU for 2020. Members of the industry are already working towards these targets, utilising packaging machinery equipment and other strategies to minimise waste and maximise recycling, but these endeavours could be made more difficult without effective support and government involvement.
The findings of the inquiry reflected the concerns that were raised by the CPI in written evidence provided to the committee. The report has called for better consistency and co-ordination between the government departments that are involved with waste policy, and it highlighted the need for Defra to continue to focus on the resource agenda in order to improve and maintain rates of recycling.
The inquiry also covered the need for government support to help local authorities with recycling-related communications in a bid to minimise confusion amongst the industries involved, improve confidence and help with problems associated with the contamination of recyclates.
There is also a need for the waste sector to be provided with clearer guidance on the infrastructure required to comply with energy-from-waste targets, along with the necessity for the government to take action regarding RDF, or refuse-derived fuel, and ensure that the waste sent to such plants is actually residual.
The recovered paper sector manager for the CPI, Stuart Pohler, said that it was encouraging that the confederation’s concerns had been recognized by the committee. He said that national recycling levels had plateaued and there were continuing material quality problems that required a greater focus on resource policy and not less.