The Policy Exchange think tank has called for the UK to set its own direction in waste policy after it has left the European Union.
According to the Policy Exchange which compiled the report, titled ‘Going Round in Circles‘, the UK should seek to define its own approach to waste policy, instead of adopting the EU’s proposed Circular Economy Package.
Policy Exchange claims that the UK’s adoption of the Circular Economy package would be costly to businesses
Policy Exchange claims that adoption of the Circular Economy Package, which is currently being finalised within the EU, would cost businesses up to £2 billion over the next 20 years.
According to the think tank, future UK policy should seek to incorporate measures including the standardisation of local authority collection systems for waste and recycling to one of three potential options.
The report also claims that Household Waste Recycling Centres should be used as collection points for reusable items, which can then be sold or redistributed to local charities.
Policy Exchange also calls for the government to support the development of end markets for scrap materials.
Commenting on the recommendations Policy Exchange’s head of environment and energy, Richard Howard, said: “Since 2000, the UK has made significant progress in the way we think about waste – boosting the level of recycling and cutting greenhouse gas emissions from waste.
“But there are still significant issues. For example, households are totally confused about what they can recycle, with more than 400 different collection systems across the country. Since 2011, the UK has spent nearly £1 billion exporting our waste overseas, where it is burned to produce energy – energy we don’t benefit from.”
He added: “The EU’s proposed ‘Circular Economy package’ is ill defined and poorly thought through. It focuses too much on the means rather than the ends. The UK Government needs to take back control and develop a more coherent set of waste policies which better serve UK businesses and households, as well as the environment.”