Defras Waste Prevention Plan for England: industry reaction

The long-awaited Waste Prevention Programme for England has been launched today by Defra but has received mixed reactions from industry associations...

The long-awaited Waste Prevention Programme for England has been launched today by waste and recycling minister Dan Rogerson.

Launched by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the programme urged businesses to design products that “last longer, contain fewer hazardous parts and use resources in a better way”.

A two-year, £800,000 Community Partnership Fund was also made available with the aim of helping local authorities, business and civil society organizations to take action on waste prevention.

Furthermore, working with WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), a web-based postcode locator will be established to provide a “practical tool to enable householders to find their local reuse and repair services”.

Resource Management Minister Dan Rogerson (pictured above) said: “Everyone has a role to play in reducing waste and I want to see businesses helping consumers and the environment by designing products to last longer and using resources better.”

Trade body the Resource Association said it was disappointed with the programme announcement.

Ray Georgeson, chief executive, said: “The Resource Association is disappointed but unsurprised at the lack of an overall target for waste prevention in England and wonders how easily this sits alongside the specific targets set separately by governments in Scotland and Wales.”

Georgeson added: “There is much to welcome in the Plan in terms of a series of important and necessary initiatives. We particularly welcome the intentions on developing waste prevention metrics, work on design and innovation through the Technology Strategy Board and the new SEAP Sustainable Electricals Action Plan and work to clarify the Definition of Waste in relation to reuse and repair activities.”

Meanwhile the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said “it remains to be seen whether Defra and WRAP have the political will and the resources to follow up all these ideas and help make them happen”.

Roy Hathaway, policy advisor at the ESA, said the association wanted further clarification on a number of points, including: “whether the government’s proposals for improving access to finance for business will address the real obstacles to much-needed future investment” and also “how the government intends to communicate its calls for action by businesses, local authorities, civil society and consumers in a way which makes the target audiences hear them and – crucially - act on them.”

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- A copy of the Waste Prevention Programme document can be found here.

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