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Time to step up to resource agenda

18th November 2014

Viridor today (18th November 2014) commented on DEFRA’s publication of statistics on waste management by local authorities in England.

The firm is currently investing over £1bn in ‘next generation’ recycling and energy recovery infrastructure to help its local authority and business customers translate zero waste policy into practice.

Dan Cooke, Director of External Affairs, Viridor:

“The UK has made great progress in recycling and landfill diversion. However, today’s figures show that we can and should do more, with recycling rates in England stalling at 43-44% for the past three years.

“Defra ‘stepping back’ from recycling and waste policy at a time when we need a firm focus on leadership and translating policy into practice was a real missed opportunity. Calls from across our sector, councils, business and commons committees for greater resource efficiency, helping to realize real economic and environmental benefits, should no longer be ignored.

“Put simply we need a firm focus on ‘front end’ recycling and how to get to near term and more stretching targets – re-telling the story of why recycling matters and why quality, not just quantity, counts. We need to invest in education, engagement and convenient collection systems and, most importantly, in more ‘next generation’ infrastructure. This will combine accessible, simple recycling with quality focused outputs through smart use of technology.”

“Our sector stands ready to commit to that investment and innovation required, to help local authorities and British businesses deliver real resource efficiency. However, to help us do that, we need government to step forward, not backwards, in providing clearer support in incentivising best practice whilst tackling waste crime. Only then will we significantly improve rates of recycling in England and truly maximise the potential of a national renewable resource.”


“After recycling its right to focus on the vital role of UK energy recovery as a key part of landfill diversion, including moves to address the shortfall in UK capacity. It’s also right to check the unrestrained export of UK resources, with growing concern regarding the lack of standards and enforcement. In 2013/14 UK exporters of Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) shipped over 2m tonnes of British resources overseas. The cost to the UK was up to £192m with the loss of energy resource capable of powering over 312,000 British homes or circa 1.3% of the UK population.

“If we aim truly to see waste as a resource, why or when is it sensible for UK taxpayers to pay for the privilege of powering industry in Dutch and German cities as opposed to heating homes and helping business here in our own country? It’s a Jekyll and Hyde policy of lost opportunities for UK energy security, jobs and investment.”

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