Greater focus needed on commercial recycling

Defra’s latest figures on Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Waste Arisings shows that some businesses are moving in the right direction but more work remains to be done.

These interim estimates, expect the completed results next month, are the first new data for eight years. While commercial and industrial waste arisings as a whole have decreased from 68 million tonnes in 2002-2003 to 55.8m tonnes, the figures for commercial waste show an increase in tonnage terms and a proportion of the total waste.

Recycling (including re-use) has improved, up to 58% from 43% in the last survey and there is a marked decrease in waste being sent to landfill. Producer responsibility legislation and increases in Landfill Tax have clearly done much to encourage businesses to change their disposal habits.

As C&I waste makes up 24% of the waste stream, compared with municipal’s 9%, we will be seeing a greater focus on getting firms to review the way they deal with waste. This has been evident with the inclusion in the Government’s general waste policy review and the publication of Mayor Boris Johnson’s Draft Business Waste Strategy for London.

The mayor’s strategy features a number of policy aims, including transforming the perceptions about resource efficiency and waste among businesses and their staff by promoting the financial and commercial value of resource-efficient businesses as well as improving the infrastructure to help businesses to re-use, recycle and compost.

These are policies that would make sense to develop in any part of the country, not just the capital. Will it be up to the about-to-be-formed Local Enterprise Partnerships or can we expect help from other areas?

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