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WRAP’s Plans for a United Kingdom Without Waste

WRAP revealed their business plan for 2011-15 back in October 2011. In this article Wastersblog takes a look at what this means for local authorities, and the waste and resource management industry.

The vision behind the business plan is ultimately a world without waste, In order to achieve that the two priorities within the plan are all about:

1. Minimising resource use in products and buildings, and
2. Diverting materials from landfill.

This is reflected within the the business plan itself which states that, by 2015, WRAP aims to:

• reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions associated with avoidable food and drink waste by 3.2 tonnes a year
• reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from design, production and use of resource hungry products, including textiles, electrical goods and home and workplace products by 500000 tonnes a year
• reduce the carbon impact of materials and water used in the built environment by embedding resource efficiency in 30 percent of construction and refurbishment design projects
• make it easier for households, businesses and the public sector to re-use and recycle more and, as a result, reduce
the quantity of food, packaging, textile and electrical waste sent to landfill by five percent and to develop a closed loop economy
• to help SMEs save £20m a year through better resource management;
• to create a step change in the UK's capacity to recover energy and recycle soil nutrients, reducing the quantity of food and wood waste sent to landfill by eight percent.

While recycling remains extremely important to WRAP the work WRAP will be doing to implement the plan, is just one, albeit important aspect.

In an article published by the CIWM, this explained as follows:

“Funders are keen that we move up the hierarchy and the balance changes from recycling and waste prevention, but going forward we [will] need to be doing more at the top of the hierarchy, in waste prevention,” their spokesperson said.

“We're trying to move up the hierarchy towards more reuse and prevention, but recycling is incredibly important and continuing to deliver that in the best way possible is vital in achieving WRAP'S business plan.”

It is clear that some materials still lag quite seriously behind others when recycling capability is concerned. One example given was plastics recycling. Some plastics materials have not shown recycling increases whereas others have. Non-bottle plastic packaging was singled out as one area where much more must be done to improve recycling rates. Examples of such items which have so far been largely left out of the recycling improvements seen in other plastics are yogurt pots, and many other rigid forms of plastic. There are quite a few of these which still are not being collected for recycling, because the infrastructure to deal with them is still in need of further development.

With localism beginning to have real effect on government administration across the four nations, there is a danger that waste infrastructure policy and development will become fragmented. However, WRAP provides assurances that it is now able to offer support across the whole of the UK. They have, for example, been working with departments in Northern Ireland to manage the local “Rethink Waste Strategy” fund, and the Rethink Waste Revenue Fund. These being specific funding sources which the government has set aside to help take forward recycling and other waste prevention initiatives. WRAP also has a programme in Wales in conjunction with the Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association to provide support to local authorities in Wales, which is the first time WRAP has worked with them directly. WRAP's intention with the programme is to provide direct support in delivering the very high recycling targets faced as the UK reaches 2015 (70 percent) and WRPA is assisting in long-term plans to ensure that each nation has the services on the ground, and in this case it will mean the right programme to help Wales deliver their zero waste plan.

WRAP is alos working in Scotland where they have been providing a degree of support to local authorities through the “Zero Waste Scotland” programme.In Scotland a large element of this work is to do with providing support for the introduction of food waste collection services to households. The Scottish government has already consulted on legislation that could ban certain materials from landfill, including food waste. In anticipation of these possible future regulations WRAP is making funding available through the “Zero Waste Scotland” programme, to help the local councils introduce separate food waste collections.

The focus in England is seen as widening technical and operational support to councils that are looking to make changes to their waste collections and to their recycling services. In England WRAp will focus toward the management of services; for example, perhaps extending the range of materials collected, and that may include the introduction of food waste collections.

In England, where once WRAP provided support on local communications that included funding for local campaigns, WRAP will no longer provide funding, but will still provide operational and the technical support.

WRAP is continuing its training programme, and working with iESE to offer support to local authorities. The statement goes on to say that its aim is to provide support to local authorities that is “valued, targeted and makes the best use of the resources available to us”. One area where they will be doing this is in developing better recycling opportunities for “people on the go”, while travelling.

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