Growing public and political concern for a sustainable future offers a ‘golden opportunity’ for Britain to create a new recycling-friendly economic base, according to Suez recycling and recovery UK. The leading waste management company has created a ‘manifesto’ for resource efficiency as the basis of a strategy which it estimates could be worth an additional £9 billion to the UK economy.
As well as backing a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and more comprehensive waste reduction targets, Suez is calling for more recycled content in more sustainably designed packaging, smarter data collection, greater collaboration with business, and a new government department identifying key materials and substances essential for the future of the environment and the economy.
Furthermore, products should display a standard form of environmental labelling, similar to the existing EU energy ratings for white goods, concludes the report titled ‘A vision for England’s long-term resources and waste strategy’.
It stands to reason that households will be ‘more motivated’ to recycle if we can simplify and consolidate the country’s kerbside recycling collections to five main systems, observes Suez ceo David Palmer-Jones. ‘And we believe this is possible,’ he adds. Suez also proposes a new data systems to track materials from the point of production, to sale, to the bin and back into production – according to the cradle-to-cradle philosophy.
Weighing individual businesses and households’ residual waste through a “chip-and-bin” system will help gather this data and could enable more “pay-as-you throw” regimes. This method would allow households and businesses which recycle well to reduce their council taxes or waste collection bills.
50% recycled content
‘We believe innovative new systems will arise to capture, recycle, re-use and re-form materials if packaging manufacturers are required by law to have 50% minimum recycled content in their products and adhere to common design standards,’ Palmer-Jones states.
‘Under our proposals, manufacturers and retailers would also help to cover the costs associated with the separate collection of a greater range of recyclable goods– like coffee pods or pet-food pouches – and would operate refundable deposit systems for packaging, encouraging consumers to bring back on-the-go bottles and cans in particular,’ he comments.