Uncertainty and challenges ahead

Expect continued uncertainty and challenges aplenty over the next 12 months. As the true nature of the budget cuts take their toll, the changes just won’t be down to economics. There’ll be plenty in regulations and legislation as well.

Regulations relating to the Waste Framework Directive are expected to be laid before Parliament this month – having been delayed from the middle of December. Under this the waste hierarchy, which prioritises prevention and re-use over recycling, recovery and disposal, will now be legally binding. As a result waste minimisation and re-use will become more prominent and it will be interesting to see how these and other waste management policies are enacted to ensure legal compliance.

At the end of the year there was great focus on the Localism Bill, which will give councils more freedom to prioritise the way they spend their money. Clauses give residents the opportunity to force a referendum if the council receives a petition with signatures from 5% of residents. Could this mean councils having to justify the choice of kerbside collection scheme and coming under pressure to change them if residents don’t feel the scheme provides value or serves their needs?

The one policy review many in the waste and recycling industry are waiting for is the results of the Waste Review consultation, expected in May. Will this mean a greater emphasis towards recycling more commercial and industrial waste? (it does after all make up a greater percentage of overall waste compared with household waste). Will there be a greater focus on using more recycled content in products or a review of how products are designed to ensure easier end of life recyclability / re-use?

Plenty of questions and debate expect in the busy year ahead – full of challenges and some surprises along the way.

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