Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report


263. We have been extremely disappointed with the lack of ambition and vigour shown by the main players in waste. The Government's Waste Strategy 2000 fails to provide vision or strategy in a sector which is badly lacking both.

264. The Waste Strategy should spell out what we want done with our waste in ten, twenty and thirty years time. Efficient resource use and waste minimisation must take priority and should run through all aspects of policy, from local waste strategies to national fiscal policy. The ridiculous state of planning for a 3% year-on-year increase in household waste whilst weakly advocating waste minimisation must be addressed. The concept of 'zero waste' is one which is gaining recognition in some parts of the world but seems to have left UK policy makers untouched. Although we are doubtful that 'zero waste' can ever be achieved, the very fact of aiming for no waste is precisely what should be driving waste strategy.

265. Under the current strategy, we risk making only moderate progress towards increasing recycling and composting whilst tying ourselves into an incineration-dominated future. To ensure that this does not happen, we must set more ambitious long-term targets and provide signals of what waste management should look like. We need stronger leadership from Government on waste. Central Government, local Government and business must examine their attitudes and policies on waste. It is not good enough to shuffle along in a laggardly fashion behind European Union Directives. There are sufficient examples from here and abroad which show what can be done and how to do it. Nothing will change until everyone in waste starts to believe that things can be changed. We, and many others, believe they can. It is time for the rest to join us.

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