Encourage action by others is Defra’s vision for its proposed Waste Prevention Programme, due to be published by the end of the year. In its latest consultation the government department sets out the proposed vision, priorities, metrics and roles for different sectors on reducing waste.
The consultation states that reducing waste arisings and increasing resource efficiency should be a priority for all sectors of the economy, listing aims to galvanise businesses, local authorities and individuals into action. It calls on all parts of the economy to consider what they can do to reduce their own waste, review operations within entire supply chains to achieve a shared vision for waste prevention and resource use. Effective waste prevention relies on actions taken throughout the life of a product or material, including design, distribution and use, says the consultation document.
Under the revised Waste Framework Directive all European Union member states have to publish a Waste Prevention Programme by 12 December 2013. The following priority waste streams for England have been identified; food, textiles, paper and card, plastics, electronic equipment and items for reuse, such as furniture.
Textiles are one material highlighted as a priority to reduce
Evidence from 2009 shows simple measures to produce less waste which pay back within a year could save UK businesses around £17 billion, representing 4% of gross UK business profits. The Government feels businesses have a central role to play including reducing costs by changing business practices, developing products and services with environmental benefits, considering production techniques and designing more innovatively.
It also notes business’ role in supporting consumer confidence and providing information to aid purchasing decisions, ensuring products are cost-effective and reliable on repair items or reused goods.
The consultation includes sections on the role the Government, local authorities and other organisations and individuals can play in reducing waste. The closing date for responses to the consultation is 23 September 2013. This consultation applies to England, Scotland and Wales are developing their own separate programmes.