14 Feb Policy
European Union The EU has declared war on plastic waste and wants all packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2030. Brussels launched its plastics strategy last month which could potentially tax damaging behaviour. The EU said it will fund research into modernising plastics production and collection, to the tune of 350 million Euros. The move follows China’s decision to ban imports of foreign recyclable material.
UK The EU Energy & Environmental sub-committee of the House of Lords has written to the Environment Minister asking for clarity on its vision for the UK’s future waste policy. The Committee is concerned about the impact that Brexit might have on the UK’s trade in waste to the EU. The Committee is concerned that if the UK leaves the single market and the customs union, then more waste could be sent to non-EU markets, with lower tariffs but also lower environmental standards. Other concerns include storage problems if waste is delayed at border controls, and ultimately more waste sent to landfill. The Committee said that experts across industry do not share the government’s confidence that Brexit won’t have much impact on the UK’s trade in waste.
UK China’s decision to restrict imports of waste could see mixed-paper burnt in UK-based waste to energy facilities, according to Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association. He made the claim while being questioned by MPs over the potential impact on the UK of the new Chinese regulations. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said she is “still surprised that the UK is still so complacent”, referring to its expectation that much of its waste will continue to go to China. Mr Hayler said sending material to energy from waste facilities could be a short term solution, but said creating stronger demand domestically could help. He explained that mixed paper could be used as a renewable fuel because it comes from renewable sources. He added that China’s move takes significant capacity out of the market, and that “some materials collected for recycling across Europe will end up in landfill or energy from waste facilities”.
UK China’s regulation of plastic imports has already seen some lower-grade materials used as RDF, according to sources.
UK Waste experts want Newcastle city council to reduce its reliance on exporting waste overseas, according to a new report. The Newcastle Waste Commission said that the city’s homes and businesses should benefit from the waste it generates. About a quarter of Newcastle’s waste is exported to Sweden, but the city sees little benefit, the report suggests, because the city pays to export the waste. This is expected to rise after Britain leaves the EU, it added.