Government cuts mean that England risks missing its EU recycling targets, the founder of one of the UK’s leading recycling companies has warned.
Jonathan Short of ECO Plastics, who appeared in front of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee inquiry recently, says that Government cuts have led to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to pull back from making urgently needed policy reforms, just at the point when they are needed the most.
England’s progress towards the EU target of recycling 50 percent of household waste has slowed significantly, rising just 0.1 percent in the 12 months to June 2013 to reach 43.3 percent.
At the same time, figures from WRAP show that only 19 percent of the 600 million tonnes of total products and materials entering the UK economy each year are recycled, creating a significant opportunity for higher recycling rates.
“At the end of last year, the Government announced it was no longer going to focus on reforming policy due to funding cuts, just at the point when the recycling sector needs it the most,” said Short.
“That needs to change, if we are serious about hitting our recycling targets. We need fundamental changes to the regulatory system, a dedicated educational campaign for consumers and a mandate for manufacturers to use recycled products, if we are to maximise our recycling capability in the UK and establish a truly circular economy.”