October 2009: The trail to Britain becoming a zero waste country was announced last week by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.
He used his speech at a summit of Local Authorities and the waste industry.
Hilary Benn expounded that in principle we need to reconsider how we view and treat waste in the United Kingdom. Why do we send valuable items like aluminium and food waste to dump them in landfill when we will be able to turn them into new cans and replaceable energy?
Why use more resources than we want to in manufacturing?
Zero Waste Nation
The idea is that we must now work in partnership to build a zero waste nation – where we scale back the resources we use, reuse and recycle all that we can and only send to the rubbish heap the things that have no other use for.
“To do this every one of us – state, local authorities, firms and patrons – must do our bit. And we must make this moment the turning point on our journey to eliminate wasteful waste.”
In a morning trip to Earls Court, Mr Benn showed his support for an up to date BSI sustainable event standard which is meant to make sure that the events industry considers the social, business and environmental impacts of their events.
Mr Benn continued :
“Using new technologies will help us to re-use things, as an example anaerobic digestion that creates power from food and farm waste. And firms can apply the technology at their fingertips to design inventive products that use less resources or contain recycled materials.
“In a decade's time seventy five percent of household waste will either be recycled or used for energy, and over time this figure will increase further. Targeting for zero waste is how we have to think to make us where we want to be – a Zero Waste Nation.”
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Central authority John Denham added :
“If we continue to send reusable or compostable waste to dump we are missing a major chance to generate heat and energy and missing a chance to turn that waste into money.
We will be able to save planet while keeping cash in resident's pockets.
I have lately set out ambitions for councils to play a larger role in tackling global warming and thinking more creatively about waste is just a method to unlock that potential.
Setting out the way in which the UK can become a zero waste nation where people can do the decent thing with their waste whether at work, home or on the go, Mr Benn related :
* On the way to becoming a zero waste country, Britain should more than halve the amount of waste going to landfills. This should be done in the following ten years. In the new year the government may consult on what re-usable and compostable items should be controlled from rubbish heap disposal (landfill) and how a ban will work.
* In 10 years time seventy five percent of household waste will either be recycled or used for energy, and over time this figure will increase even further.
* 6 new Zero Waste Places in parts of Shropshire, Dorchester, Brixton, Newham, Hoxton and Suffolk will be made to develop cutting edge concepts to cut waste in the home, workplace and community.
* A new Zero Waste Places Standard for Local Authorities will also recognise areas which are going above and beyond national waste targets while supporting them with little grants for further development.
* New research out today shows it is possible to steer 500,000 tons of household waste every year by re-using it.
* Later on this month a new public campaign will be launched, directed at inspiring folk to reconsider their approach to waste by reducing and reusing the waste they create as well continuing to reuse as much as they can.
* The govt expects Local Authorities to supply a full collection service for all recyclable items by 2020. This should include paper, card, cans, glass and plastic bottles, food and packing.
We'll encourage Local Authorities in picking up food waste to employ the technology and funding open to them to manage the power of energy from waste.
* Publication of our aims and actions for Industrial and Commercial Waste in Britain .
This can help enterprises to use resources better and inspire them to consider what they do with their waste as well as delivering advantages for the environment.
Actions cover four areas : helping business ; working with the waste management industry ; plugging the information opening ; and inspiring cutting edge approaches.