Funds to Tackle Waste Crime a Step in Right Direction but Where’s the Latte Tax?

COMMENT: UK Budget – The Good, the Bad and the Missing in Action

Max Kanda welcomes the £10 million funding in yesterday’s budget to tackle waste crime, but argues that more measures are necessary to deal with illegal dumping and increase the level of recycled content in new products…

Max Kanda, UKWSL, waste, recycling Opinion blog Max Kanda
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Max Kanda welcomes the £10 million funding in yesterday’s budget to tackle waste crime, but argues that more measures are necessary to deal with illegal dumping and increase the level of recycled content in new products…

The £10m assigned to deal with abandoned waste sites in yesterday’s Budget will help to reduce the impact of waste crime on local communities. However, much more must be done to tackle this and associated other waste crime which was estimated in 2017 as costing the legitimate waste industry and the taxpayer £600 million every year.

The scale of the waste crime problem is staggering with the Environment Agency declaring another 850 new illegal waste sites in 2016/17 as well as levels of fly-tipping running at record high levels.

More broadly, whilst any support to reduce our environmental impact must be seen as positive, we were surprised to see the chancellor go cold on the so-called latte tax.

A similar mechanism appears to have worked in cutting our use of single use plastic bags and we believe it had a role to play in reducing the 2.5 billion cups being thrown away every year.

Only time will tell if voluntary action will reduce this impact, but there must be a deadline to achieve a meaningful reduction before some form of legislation or cup levy becomes necessary.

Taxation to increase the amount of recyclate in plastic packaging is a positive move but whilst we work to increase reuse and the levels of recycled material available for use in new products, we must consider whether the UK recycling infrastructure is receiving the required levels of investment to realise this improvement and how we can instil the levels of confidence required to bring this about.

Max Kanda is Managing Director of Nottinghamshire, UK based waste and recycling firm UKWSL.

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