Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report


WHAT CAN WE DO WITH WASTE AND CAN WE AVOID PRODUCING IT?

38. This question can only be answered properly if we have a comprehensive understanding of who produces waste, what the composition of that waste it, why they produce it and how it might change under different circumstances. However, the quantity and quality of data on waste has been an enduring source of disappointment to us since 1994, when we first considered waste matters in depth. In 1998, we concluded that:

     "The continuing lack of information in Government about waste is extraordinary: it would appear to be common sense that one first identifies the nature and scale of the problem before attempting to sort it out. The production of accurate statistics on waste arising, the composition of waste at the point of arising and on the demographic structure of households (which affects that composition) must be a Government priority."[21]

This concern was reiterated in our 1999 Report on The Operation of the Landfill Tax.[22] Although the situation has improved a little since then, the data now available is by no means adequate.[23] The Community Recycling Network told us that it "has no confidence" in the data used to formulate the Waste Strategy 2000 and they pointed out that data on waste continues to be produced without agreed methodologies.[24] This inevitably undermines the quality of the data and the validity of year-on-year comparisons. Further, even well-informed witnesses were unable to explain how the quantity and composition of household waste varies from household to household with the usual socio-economic variables such as income and number of adults.[25] Such relationships are of more than just academic interest: they can be used to design and refine kerbside recycling schemes, to develop an accurate and realistic business plan and to ensure that local waste management strategies are robust and realistic. We have reproduced in Appendix 1 some details of waste composition from the data available and in Appendix 2 a critique of the data available by our advisers, David Mansell and Dr Dominic Hogg.

39. But it is not only the quality and quantity of data which is available which concerns us. We are disappointed at the delays which have characterised the production of the outputs from the first national waste survey. The Strategic Waste Management Assessments finally appeared near the end of our inquiry: many witnesses noted that the delays in producing these assessments had, in turn, delayed the production of regional waste strategies and local waste plans.[26] The Planning Officers Society told us of the problems faced by their members because of the lack of data:

    "they have been very seriously inhibited by the non-availability of information at the regional level ... We await the results of the 1998 industrial and commercial survey from the Agency ... Without information, you cannot start the planning process."[27]

40. The Environment Agency told us that their initial bid for funding to carry out a further national waste survey had not been accepted but that they were still talking to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions about finding the necessary funding.[28] The Agency also told us of their wish to move towards a rolling system of continuous data gathering.[29] We remain extremely disappointed with the data available on waste arisings: the data available is incomplete, unreliable and often published too late to be of use. This situation has hindered the development of both national and local waste strategies. Only with adequate data will we able to tell whether policy measures are successfully influencing people and businesses' waste decisions and determine what further measures are necessary. We recommend that the Government make sure money is made available to the Environment Agency to enable it to carry out continuous monitoring of waste. We also urge the Environment Agency to process the information more speedily than they have thus far managed.

41. The burden of data collection could be considerably eased if businesses started to monitor their waste production and practices and keep information in a standard format.[30] If this data were then automatically passed to the Environment Agency, the workload for the Agency would be reduced and the reliability and accuracy of waste data enhanced.

Selection Techniques for Waste Management Options

42. The title of our inquiry "Delivering Sustainable Waste Management" perhaps suggests that 'Sustainable Waste Management' is a well-defined concept. But the practical meaning of the phrase is not at all clear, not least because of the complexity of 'sustainability' which includes environmental, social and economic considerations. In our last Report, we concluded simply that:

"A strategy for sustainable waste management ... should be capable of moving an imperfect system towards one which is better, whilst taking into account the need for economic development and the needs and views of individuals within society."[31]

43. The waste hierarchy has been broadly accepted as the guiding principle in trying to develop a more sustainable waste management system. The hierarchy defines reduction as the most desirable option, followed by re-use, then recovery (through recycling, composting or energy recovery) and finally the least desirable option, disposal. Although this hierarchy provides a rule of thumb, other tools and principles are also being used to formulate local waste strategies: the precautionary principle,[32] the proximity principle,[33] life-cycle analysis and the Best Practicable Environmental Option[34] are all considered to apply to decisions about waste management. Inevitably, though, there are other less scientific determinants of which waste management options are selected: the impact of national policy guidance, the funding made available and public attitudes can all dictate which options are chosen.

44. Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) is put forward in the Strategy as the tool to determine the choice of waste management techniques at local level. There are some areas of concern about the use of BPEO. First, some witnesses (including the Environment Agency) suggested that the use of BPEO would not necessarily deliver the targets in the Waste Strategy 2000.[35] Quite simply, the BPEO technique is intended to take into account all the factors in a given local situation and takes no account of the national targets. As such, there can be no guarantee that the sum of all the individual local decisions taken using BPEO will result in the achievement of the national targets or indeed deliver sustainable waste management. Although the Environment Agency noted the "tension" between BPEO and the targets, they went on to say that they were reasonably happy that this would not lead to major problems.[36] We expect the Agency and the Government to keep this matter under close review and to resolve any problems promptly.

45. The Environment Agency have developed a tool called WISARD, which is intended for use by local authorities and others and employs life-cycle analysis to help determine the BPEO. The use of this tool and the methodology for determining the BPEO give us some cause for concern. For example, in determining the BPEO, it is not a straightforward matter to weigh up some of the environmental impacts: is a process which emits 1kg of carbon dioxide (the gas responsible for much of the global climate change) better or worse than one which emits 3 nanograms of dioxin (a powerful carcinogen)? Questions like this one cannot be answered by the WISARD tool. Indeed, arguably, no-one can provide definitive answers to such questions.

46. In the definition of the BPEO,[37] one of the most problematic aspects is contained in the final sentence: "... the option that provides the most benefits or the least damage to the environment as a whole, at acceptable cost, in the long term as well as in the short term." Given that waste management is intended to be undertaking a 'step change', it can be difficult to establish what the 'long-term' in this context refers to. For example, it is often stated that the environmental merits of recycling are diminished by the need to transport the collected materials long distances for re-processing. Similarly, the economic benefits may be lessened by the prospect of unstable markets for recycled materials. But, if the Strategy is successful, the amount of material recycled will increase. In turn, the number and spread of reprocessing facilities are likely to increase too and this will reduce the environmental impact of transporting the materials for reprocessing. Similarly, if the Waste and Resources Action Programme[38] is successful in establishing more stable markets, the economic benefits of recycling will increase. The scale and composition of the different waste streams may vary dramatically over, say, a thirty year period. But taking account of factors such as these is not simple and is likely to be neglected in the BPEO process. Other questions arise over what is the meaning of the term 'at acceptable cost' (and should this include external costs?) since the outcome of the BPEO technique will always be forced into the bounds of the funding available. For all these reasons, it is particularly important that WISARD is not used as a dogmatic tool to 'prove' that one option is better than another but rather as a general guide for decision makers.

47. This becomes particularly important when one considers the opening words in the definition of BPEO: "the outcome of a systematic and consultative decision-making process...".With the increasing use of computer tools to help determine the BPEO, there is a real risk that the need to consult the public becomes secondary or, worse still, overlooked. As such, it is important to ensure that the inputs, process and outputs of these models are shared with the interested public and local groups. In 1998, we recommended that the WISARD tool be made available free or at cost so that all interested parties could probe the outcome of the use of WISARD.[39] Instead, it is being sold for a little less than £1000 (although this includes some training).[40] Public Interest Consultants bemoaned the cost and inaccessibility of WISARD and other computer models used to determine the BPEO, suggesting that "the black box solutions presented by waste disposal authorities ... cannot be effectively tested at planning inquiries..."[41] It is clearly very important that public access to these models is assured and this principle was backed by the Environment Agency.[42]

48. Although we recognise that computer models such as WISARD provide a consistent methodology for helping to determine the Best Practicable Environmental Option, we are concerned about a number of aspects of the use of these models. The temptation to use computer models as prescriptive devices to provide 'the answer' must be avoided: no model can ever provide the solution to a complex and partly judgement-based process such as determining BPEO. Further, the determination of BPEO must not be allowed to become a technocratic process which takes place in isolation from other interested parties, the output of which is then used to steamroller a sceptical public into options which they dislike or distrust. The definition of BPEO is that it is a "consultative decision-making process" and this must be adhered to, including making the use of any model available to the general public wherever practicable. The Government should issue clear advice to local authorities on the role of computer models in determining the BPEO and the need to accompany their use with comprehensive public information and involvement.

Minimisation and Resource Efficiency

49. The minimisation or reduction of waste is at the top of the waste hierarchy: it is the single most desirable option. Beyond the concept of minimisation, there is another related concept which is gaining acceptance. The need to aim for 'resource efficiency' has been promoted in recent years through the Factor 4 and Factor 10 initiatives[43] and is a need which we wholeheartedly endorse. By producing more from less, we help to shift the imbalance of production and consumption away from developed countries and help produce a more equitable system. The result of greater efficiency in the use of resources will be to produce less waste but the concept of resource efficiency should also extend to the design of products so that they are more easily separated, re-used, recycled or composted. The concept of 'resource efficiency' is one which some witnesses considered should have been incorporated into the Waste Strategy 2000.[44] The National Association of Waste Disposal Officers, for example, told us that:

    "we would question whether sustainable waste management is the right direction to be proceeding in; whether we should be trying instead to look at delivery of sustainable resource management or sustainable consumption."[45]

50. More generally, few witnesses had praise for the way in which the Strategy deals with waste minimisation. The Environment Agency told us that:

    "the Waste Strategy outlines high-level principles for waste minimisation but we would agree that it does not explain how they are implemented in practice."[46]

Similarly, the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee wrote that the Waste Strategy 2000 offers "little by way of direct support" to waste minimisation efforts[47] and the Institute of Wastes Management agreed.[48] Certainly, the measures listed on page thirty-eight of the Waste Strategy 2000 do little to convince the reader of the earlier claim that the Government is committed to "tackling the amount of waste produced, by breaking the link between economic growth and waste production."[49] This seems to flout the European Framework Directive on Waste which requires Member States to encourage "the prevention or reduction of waste production and its harmfulness" as a priority above the need to encourage "the recovery of waste, including recycling, re-use or reclamation, or the use of waste as a source of energy."[50]

51. Various policies could help encourage manufacturers to take minimisation more seriously although perhaps the main way to encourage it would be to focus on fiscal measures which drive waste disposal costs up[51] and producer responsibility measures which require take-back of products. UK business spends only a tiny proportion of its turnover on waste disposal, the costs were described as 'ludicrously cheap' by one witness and it should be remembered that, at present, most households pay little more than £1 per week for their waste collection and disposal and this money is paid indirectly through the council tax. Other mechanisms could include better educational initiatives, greater use of producer-responsibility measures and encouraging a move from a product-based to a service-based economy (for example, instead of buying a photocopier, replacing it when it breaks down, and ultimately throwing it away, photocopiers are leased, thereby encouraging design for long life). We backed this approach in our Report last year on Reducing the Environmental Impact of Consumer Products.[52]

52. Another strand of evidence that the Government is failing to take waste minimisation seriously is that it has yet to produce guidance on the Waste Minimisation Act 1998.[53] This Act makes allowance for local authorities to undertake minimisation activity, as opposed to collection and disposal/treatment. In the Government's response to our previous Report on Sustainable Waste Management, it was stated that "If the Bill does become law, then the Government agrees that guidance on it, and on good practice which has shown itself to be successful would be useful...".[54] Although the Government is now making some movement towards examining good practice, the guidance remains absent.

53. The most obvious indication that the Government is failing to promote (or have faith in) waste minimisation and reduction is the projection of year-on-year growth of between 1% and 3% in the municipal waste stream. Rather than challenging this figure with targets for reduction and unveiling ways of reducing the growth rate, the Strategy appears to accommodate it, thereby falling back into the old 'predict and provide' approach which has been so discredited in road building. If such a growth rate does occur, it will inevitably mean that, whatever efforts are made to increase recycling, composting and re-use, there will be a large (and growing) amount of residual waste which must be landfilled or incinerated.

54. Friends of the Earth expressed disappointment that the Strategy did not include any targets for waste minimisation, describing this as a "glaring omission."[55] Various targets could be set for waste minimisation: these could include targets for local authorities as well as a national target. In our last Report we noted the Audit Commission's idea for a target for waste reduction per household set in kilogrammes per household, rather than as a percentage.[56] Whilst it is true that there is only so much a local authority can do to minimise waste production in their area, it would still provide a useful signal as to the direction of policy. For example, we understand that the contract which Surrey County Council has negotiated with its contractor stipulates that growth is to be restricted to 1% per annum.[57] Such conditions could be expected to become more widespread if targets for waste minimisation were set for all local authorities.

55. The Government does not appear to be taking waste minimisation seriously. There are few significant measures aimed at minimising the amount of waste and the Strategy embraces the current and future growth of municipal waste, rather than challenging it. We were told that the Government had not yet "broken the link between economic growth and waste" but it does not appear to be trying to do so. This acceptance of waste growth without challenge demonstrates our prime criticism of the Government's approach to resource use and waste management: that it lacks depth and ambition. The Government must set a target for reducing the rate of growth of waste and consider with some urgency precisely how it can drive waste growth down and ultimately reverse it.

56. The Government appears to accept that municipal waste is growing at 3% per annum and may continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Certainly, statistics for municipal waste show that growth averaged around 3% per year over the period 1995/96-1998/99 and many witnesses (including the Local Government Association, several local authorities, some waste management companies and the Environment Agency [58]) reported that growth was continuing at about this rate.

57. An understanding of the reasons for this growth is vital, since only with such an understanding can it be gauged whether the growth is likely to continue. Amongst the reasons suggested were an increase in waste awareness and recycling,[59] the provision of 'wheelie-bins' (which are generally considered to bring increased amounts of waste),[60] increased numbers of garden 'make-overs' and greater use of disposable nappies.[61] However plausible or otherwise these reasons may be, they are really just hypotheses - there does not appear to be any analysis available which demonstrates precisely why this increase is taking place. Friends of the Earth quoted the environmental journal, the ENDS Report, which noted that "evidence to support claims of such growth is weak, and statistics reflect new ways of collecting waste and some stealth tipping stimulated by the landfill tax, rather than 'consumerism gone mad'".[62] Indeed, many witnesses suggested that the apparent growth was a result of the diversion of waste (partly as a result of the Landfill Tax) from the commercial waste stream into the municipal waste stream through the use of civic amenity sites.[63]

58. The National Association of Waste Disposal Officers were uncomfortable with the projection of continued growth in municipal waste and noted that:

    "there is absolutely no statistical basis for making forward projections beyond a very, very short-term period ... So the questions of: how much do we deal with now? How much do we deal with now and how much do we deal with in the future? Are fundamentally not known."[64]

The statistical support for projecting the growth of municipal waste is thin, based as it is on a short time-period, during which the waste management systems were being restructured and the Landfill Tax was introduced. We are sceptical about the Government's projections of future growth of municipal waste. The combination of predicted increases of between 1% and 3% and the 'gap' between targets for recycling and recovery may be providing a green light for excessive incineration capacity. The Government must work to determine the reasons which underpin the growth of municipal waste arisings and use this analysis to drive its minimisation efforts, rather than accept the growth as a fait accompli which must be accommodated.

Re-use and Recycling

59. Re-use of materials is actually more attractive than recycling since they require no re-processing, merely re-sale. This is particularly appropriate for clothes, furniture and some electrical goods such as refrigerators and televisions. We did not consider re-use specifically in our inquiry but it is important to emphasise the benefits to the environment, society and employment from re-use systems.

60. In many people's minds, recycling is synonymous with sustainable waste management and it is perceived by much of the public as the 'answer' to waste management problems. Of course, recycling is not at the top of the waste hierarchy and it forms just one strand of a more acceptable waste management system. Nevertheless, the engagement of the public with recycling is always likely to be the first step in involving them in more responsible waste behaviour.

61. Recycling is also one of the most straightforward methods of reclaiming value from waste. At present, we recycle just 9% of household waste. This figure has been extremely slow to increase: in 1994, the recycling rate stood at 5%, by the time we did our inquiry into Sustainable Waste Management, this figure had increased to 6.5%.[65] This sluggish increase is all the more disappointing because a target of 25% by the year 2000 was set in 1995. The Government has now re-based this target to 2005 and set other targets which we discuss later.

62. The benefits of an increased recycling rate would be considerable. Although it is sometimes suggested that recycling may not always be the Best Practicable Environmental Option, it is likely that this only applies in very specific situations with particular materials. In general, after minimisation, re-use and recycling are the most attractive options from both an environmental and a common-sense perspective. Furthermore, the employment benefits of recycling and re-use can be considerable as they tend to be rather labour-intensive processes. One study suggested that up to 50,000 jobs could be created by expanding recycling.[66] Importantly, the quality of the jobs created is higher for recycling of source-separated waste than can be found within mixed-waste Materials Reclamation Facilities.

63. Above all, there are two key requirements to improving the prospects for recycling. Firstly, source separation of waste is vital: the Recycling Consortium told us it was "absolutely critical".[67] If householders separate out their waste into the different recyclable components, then large quantities of high-quality, uncontaminated materials are produced. The second requirement is that those materials can then be sold into reasonably stable markets at an attractive price.

COLLECTION

64. It may seem rather obvious but if householders are to recycle their waste, they must be given the opportunity to do so relatively easily. In practice, this means that kerbside collections of recyclable materials are required[68] - Mr Meacher stated that the statutory recycling targets would not be met without such collections.[69] Kerbside collections are much more convenient for householders than taking separated materials for recycling to 'banks' around the locality. For many years, such 'banks' or 'bring sites' have been the main method of collection of recyclables. Whilst these sites have been reasonably successful, they suffer from many limitations: they require collection, sorting and a journey for the householder, the banks themselves often become full or soiled and this acts as a disincentive to further efforts to recycle. The simplest argument against 'bring sites' being the main future route of collection is a logistical one: while there continues to be a kerbside collection of the 'black bag' of waste materials from every household, it makes sense to try and include the collection of recyclables in that system. Nevertheless, 'bring sites' can play a useful, complementary, role to kerbside collection schemes.

65. At present, it is estimated that around 43% of households have a kerbside collection of separated materials for recycling: around 9.3 million households in total.[70] However, simply providing a collection of these materials is not enough: several witnesses noted that unless arrangements like these are accompanied by well-targeted information and encouragement for householders, they will not achieve their full potential.[71] For example, Mark Strutt from Greenpeace told us of his own experience:

    "Lewisham has recently begun separation of waste by giving us a green box to put paper in, but there has been no guidance as to what sort; can I put cardboard in there, I do not know, I have not been told. I chucked a telephone directory in there, when we got a new one, the other day, and it was left in there, so I gleaned from that that we are not supposed to put telephone directories in."[72]

66. Theoretically, post-collection sorting of the waste stream could be an efficient system for material re-use. It would enable all the waste to be dealt with, rather than just the separated portion, and some waste materials are easily extracted after collection. For example, metal cans can be pulled out with a magnet (collection of separated cans appear to do relatively well for removal of drink cans, but poorly for other tins). Similarly, aluminium cans and foil lend themselves to post-collection sorting and it is also possible to remove plastic fairly effectively. However, problems are experienced with newspapers (contamination makes this unattractive) and glass (the mixed waste cannot be compacted on collection). Greater Manchester Waste have been carrying out post-collection separation of plastic along with aluminium and metal cans. After removing other large objects from the waste, the firm then pulverises the remaining waste to produce a 'soil improver'. We cannot accept that this material really is a soil improver, nor at the moment is it acceptable to the Environment Agency. However, if this material were to be composted, or used as a feed-stock for a biodigester, it may be possible to produce a useful soil improver for use as soil-cover on the many sites in the old industrial areas of England.

67. Although the sorting of waste after it has been collected may be useful in some circumstances, it is, in general, markedly less desirable than source-separation. Post-collection sorting produces lesser returns of lower quality materials. Also, by engaging householders with waste issues, kerbside collection schemes make it easier to persuade them to take other actions, such as purchasing products which are easier to recycle. The kerbside collection of source-separated waste is a necessity if we are to transform waste management. It must be ensured that the Best Value regime works to increase the proportion of households covered by kerbside collections. A prerequisite of an authority being awarded beacon council status should be that at least 50% of its households be covered by kerbside collections. We also recommend that the Local Government Association develop in consultation with other appropriate bodies a best practice guide for local authorities wishing to introduce (or improve) kerbside collections.

68. Another source of high-quality materials for recycling is civic amenity sites, which are responsible for around 16% of municipal waste arisings. Essex Waste Disposal Authority stressed the potential that exists in these sites to increase the proportion of waste recycled. By introducing new contracts to give the contractors incentives to recycle, Essex has managed to increase the recycling rate at these sites from 19% to 43% in one year, with the figure now standing at 58%.[73] The key to success here is designing the civic amenity site so that it is much easier to use for those wishing to separate their waste for recycling than it is for those who would rather just dump their waste.[74] Bob Lisney from Hampshire County Council agreed that civic amenity sites held a great potential: "In terms of overall recovery, the CA sites ... can provide as much, if not more, than recovery from kerbside collection systems ...".[75] The role of civic amenity sites in increasing recycling rates must not be neglected. The Government should ensure that best practice in designing and operating such sites for maximum recovery is widely disseminated.

TARGETS FOR RECYCLING

69. The main targets of relevance here are:

  • to recycle or compost at least 30% of household waste by 2010;

  • to recycle or compost at least 33% of household waste by 2015;

With the current recycling rate standing at just 9%, these targets may appear ambitious and the Government describes them as "challenging, but achievable."[76] Although this description looks apt for the 2005 target, those for later years pose little extra challenge. It is noted by some witnesses that there is a 'gap' between these recycling targets and the recovery targets: some have suggested that this 'gap' would be filled with incineration.[77]

73. Many witnesses argued that the targets were not sufficiently challenging: the Community Recycling Network told us that they "do not think they are desperately ambitious at all"[78] and others concurred with this assessment.[79] In arguing that the targets were rather weak, witnesses noted that other countries were giving themselves tougher challenges: the United States has a target of 35% by 2005, the Netherlands had a target of 60% by the end of 2000 and Switzerland and Germany are already achieving rates of over 50%.[80] Robin Murray told us that Canberra has achieved a recycling rate of 59% within 8 years,[81] Germany has gone from 10-15% to 48% in six years.[82] Friends of the Earth argued that 80% of the household waste stream can be recycled or composted and that only above these levels are technical problems encountered.[83]

74. The limited ambition of the 2010 and 2015 targets would suggest that the Government may have accepted the argument that there is a 'ceiling' which exists on the proportion of household waste which can be recycled or composted. The Resource Recovery Forum cited research done by AEA Technology, which found that "recycling programmes will never exceed 40-50% of waste arising"[84] and the Energy from Waste Association suggested that there was a "plateau" of around 35%.[85] Although lower figures have also been suggested, evidence from some local authorities suggests that recycling rates of 35-40% are considered "challenging, but achievable"[86] and Enviros have completed a study which concluded that 35-40% was where the 'plateau' existed.[87] WasteWatch suggest that recycling programmes which rely entirely on voluntary actions reach a limit at around 40-45% but go on to note that:

    "Municipalities that have achieved more have mainly done this with the aid of additional legislative and financial measures -such as local taxes, material bans, and direct charging for waste collection. All have been rejected to date in the UK, but may well need to be revisited in the future if we are serious about waste diversion from landfill."[88]

Although the concept of a 'ceiling' to recycling levels is a popular one, it is not clearly defined and there are many examples from around the world which show that the ceiling can be broken through with well-designed policy instruments. Furthermore, it is clear that we are in a dynamic situation in which changes in product design will increase the recyclability of materials.

75. The national targets for recycling and composting provide a real challenge for the year 2005 (25%) but the targets for 2010 (30%) and 2015 (33%) are depressingly unambitious and appear implicitly to accept that there is a 'ceiling' on the proportion which can be recycled. These later targets fail to build on the significant efforts which will be required to meet the 2005 target and could result in a loss of momentum in recycling. We recommend that new targets be set of 50% by 2010 and 60% by 2015: these targets will ensure that vigorous efforts to recycle are maintained.

Local Authority Targets

76. To meet the national targets for recycling and composting, the Government has put forward the following statutory standards for 2003:

  

  • authorities that recycled or composted between 5% and 15% in 1998/99 to double their recycling rate;

  • the remaining authorities to recycle or compost at least one third of household waste.

The Strategy calculates that achievement of these targets will result in an overall recycling rate of around 17% by 2003 and also states that standards will be set for 2005 and 2010 to ensure that the national targets are met.[89]

80. As is clear from the format of the targets for local authorities, the current recycling performance of local authorities varies dramatically, from as low as 1% to 35%.[90] Some of this variation can be put down to the different nature of local authorities: for example, higher recycling rates can be more difficult to achieve in some types of rural or semi-rural areas, as compared to urban or suburban areas. It is also often considered easier to achieve higher recycling rates in more affluent urban areas than in poorer parts and more difficult to raise rates where the housing is predominantly high-rise. A good deal of the variation, however, can be put down to the differing levels of commitment to recycling found amongst local authorities.

81. We have already noted the importance of kerbside collections of separated materials for recycling. Witnesses were convinced that such collections would be required if local authorities were to achieve the targets set. Essex Waste Disposal Authority told us that:

    "It is necessary for the districts to implement kerb-side separation, not only of dry recyclables but also of organics, if we are to stand any chance of getting to these challenging recycling levels that have been set for us by the Government."[91]

82. Perhaps the most important question raised about the targets as they relate to local authorities is whether they are achievable given the funding made available to local authorities.[92] Given that it is generally accepted by everyone (including the Minister) that kerbside collections systems will be required to meet the targets, one might imagine that the introduction of these systems has been costed and the necessary funding made available. There appear to be no such costings or rationale behind the funding made available which includes an additional £1.127 billion for the local authority function which incorporates waste, a further £50 million from the New Opportunities Fund for household recycling schemes and £140 million of challenge fund money.

83. The cost of kerbside collections is often quoted at £5-£20 per household per annum and a similar amount would be needed for collections of organic materials.[93] Once one has included improvements to civic amenity sites and efforts to educate and inform the public to ensure their participation, a rough estimate of the total cost would be about £20-£25 per household per annum. To provide such services to, say 80% of households would cost around £400 million every year. In general, witnesses from local authorities tended to believe that the funding available was insufficient for them to reach the targets.[94] We consider the detailed aspects of funding to local authorities in a later section of the Report and, in particular, we consider the need for transitional funding to enable local authorities to set up kerbside collection schemes in the first place.

84. The limited funding available to increase recycling infrastructure may threaten the achievement of the national targets for recycling. However, it is not possible to comment with certainty since the funding made available does not appear to have been based on any costings. Although the national targets for recycling and composting cannot be considered ambitious, the derived targets for local authorities may prove to be more than challenging within the confines of the funding available. To enable the true situation to be determined, we recommend that the Government publish clear costings of how local authorities will be able to achieve the recycling targets using the funding made available to them.

MARKETS AND PRICES

85. The problem of finding adequate and stable markets for recycled materials is a well-documented one. Apocryphal stories of green glass being shipped to Brazil to be landfilled and newspaper collected for recycling being dumped in UK landfill sites litter the media coverage of this issue.[95] Similarly, the 'German experience' is often quoted where collection of recyclables pre-empted the formation of proper markets and much material ended up in landfill.[96] Witnesses stressed that these stories were not representative of the real situation:

    "The Community Recycling Network and its members have in general found ways of marketing its materials for many years. There seems to have been a myth developing that there is a problem with markets. This is not the case, in the CRN's experience. There is sometimes a problem with price, and it may be that, in the short term future, some supporting financial mechanisms are needed on prices for recyclables, but this is not the same as a market problem. The necessary markets, for the most part, exist."[97]

Similarly, the Recycling Consortium told us that the lack of markets "is an issue but it is probably not as much of an issue as some people like to make out."[98] Robin Murray argued that the main barrier to the expansion of recycling was the financing of supply and asserted that "I actually do not see it, for the most part, as an obstacle of markets."[99]

86. But others were less convinced that markets would be adequate to sustain an expansion of recycling activity. For example, the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers noted that "previous targets (for producer responsibility matters) have failed to result in either long-term or stable markets for local authorities."[100] Similarly, the Local Government Association suggested that those authorities currently recycling at levels of 25% "have reached a plateau from which it is not possible to move without considerable cost and the creation of local artificial and heavily subsidised markets."[101]

87. Clearly, if recycling is to be expanded dramatically, then stable markets with reasonable prices will be necessary. The risk that large amounts of paper, plastic and glass collected for recycling would have to be disposed of by landfill or incineration is a sobering one. One of the strongest measures which Government could take would be to aim to break down those performance standards which specify the use of virgin materials and, where possible, to invert them so that they specify a given proportion of recycled material.100[102] Public procurement along these lines could also help provide a big boost to markets for products with high proportions of recycled materials. But many of the routes to more stable markets are difficult to legislate for, and rely on innovation more than any specific policy initiative.

88. We were told of the change in approach to markets, away from closed loop (the recycling of materials back to the same use) towards a more flexible, open-loop system, in which materials employed for one purpose may then be recycled for use in a range of different processes.101[103] For example, green glass can be used in road-making and also has high value as a filtration medium. Clearly, if more and different markets for recycled materials are created then it is likely that the prices paid for those materials will be rather more stable and less influenced by variation in the demand for one of those markets. Another way round this problem for those working with recyclates was provided by Mr Dougherty, an adviser to WRAP, but previously responsible for a market development initiative in Washington State in the United States:

    "So even working with main factors of plastic products, say industrial containers, we would work with them to define the level of recycled plastic they could use; for example, from 20 per cent to 80 per cent. When the price of recycled plastic was high they would use little or none, and when it was low they would use 80 per cent. So we always worked with them to make sure that it was to their financial advantage."102[104]

89. We are encouraged that the Waste and Resources Action Programme is set to tackle the problem of markets immediately after its formation although we are anxious that it does not get bogged down in detailed research in this area.103[105] The problems of markets are real ones but an extremely important point was made to us by the Recycling Consortium:

    "We struggled for 20 years plus with the idea that recycling should pay for itself. We do not expect landfill sites to pay for themselves. We quite accept that, with landfill sites, if the standards increase it becomes more expensive. We do not say to the landfill operators, 'I am very sorry but you will have to find that money from somewhere else.'"104[106]

We agree with the Community Recyclers. No other waste management option is expected to pay its own way and it has perhaps become a cultural expectation that 'recycling' should pay for itself and should not be carried out if the price paid for the recycled materials does not cover the expense of recycling. There is no justification for this apparently logical argument since recycling is simply another option in the waste hierarchy. As such, we see no reason that measures to develop markets should not involve subsidy, at least in the short to medium term whilst recycling is growing.

90. We agree with Robin Murray that the problem of markets for recycled materials is "a challenge for innovation, it is not an argument against the broad strategy proposal [to expand recycling]".105[107] Nevertheless, there are problems with markets and in our previous Report on Sustainable Waste Management, we concluded that the Government would need to intervene in markets to secure stability.106[108] This continues to be the case and the problems of markets for recycled materials must not be allowed to threaten the development of recycling. We are encouraged that the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is planning to tackle this area. Where considered appropriate, WRAP should be able to recommend with confidence the introduction of subsidies for particular markets, or other measures requiring Government action.

PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY

91. 'Producer responsibility' is the phrase used to define systems where the manufacturer of a given product is required (or volunteers) to take responsibility for the handling (and sometimes final destination) of some or all of the waste associated with that product. Perhaps the best known example from previous years was the system of deposits on bottles of fizzy drinks, a scheme which unfortunately ceased in the 1970s. A similar system (without deposits) continues to operate for the delivery of milk. More recent initiatives have resulted in the packaging regulations, which require a given proportion of packaging materials to be reclaimed by the manufacturer.

92. Many witnesses argued that greater producer responsibility would be required to change the waste management system and expressed disappointment with the provisions made in the Strategy.107[109] For example, the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers wrote that:

    "the producer-responsibility obligation should be strengthened within the national waste strategy and highlighted to reflect the need for industry to be the primary agency responsible for delivering a reduction in the nation's use of resources."108[110]

Witnesses also stressed that producer responsibility was the main mechanism to ensure that manufacturers end up sharing the with householders the costs of improving waste management. Waste Watch commented that:

    "the lack of hard hitting producer responsibility measures means that society at large will continue to pay the full price of waste disposal, not the producers of products that ultimately become waste."109[111]

93. Few witnesses declared themselves opposed to producer responsibility measures although many were critical of the packaging regulations. We have considered the Packaging Regulations in detail in a previous Report110[112] and we will not go over them in detail here. Perhaps the main point is that the Packaging Regulations appear to be a good example of how not to introduce effective producer responsibility requirements. The Regulations came into force in 1997 and set targets for recovery and recycling of packaging waste. Obligated businesses must recover and recycle packaging waste: 50% must be recovered in 2001, with at least half of that recycled. Many witnesses noted the apparent failure of the Regulations to reduce the amount of packaging.111[113] The complexity of the Packaging Regulations means that manufacturers and specifiers of packaging do not directly experience the costs which those Regulations impose on the users of packaging. As a result, it is arguable whether there is any real incentive for those manufacturers to reduce packaging or to redesign it such that it is easier to reuse or recycle. Although it seems that the Packaging Regulations have had only limited success in increasing the amount of packaging being recycled, they have at least forced companies to monitor the amount of packaging that they use.112[114] However, this must be considered a poor return for such a complicated and expensive system. The Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system for demonstrating compliance with the packaging waste obligation is too complicated and has resulted in large sums being distributed to reprocessors, thereby contributing little to the objectives of the system.

94. To return to the bottle-deposit system, we heard from Valpak and Incpen about the decline and subsequent abandonment of this system in the UK. Mr Turner from Valpak told us that:

    "One of the reasons for the change was the amount of waste in the returnable system. The losses incurred in returnable systems through fraud, breakage and the winter - one of the major problems in the winter when bottles are stored outside is people forget that they fill up with water and freeze so it is a total loss situation. The whole thing became extremely expensive."113[115]

Quite simply, these reasons sound like excuses - they are simply problems which could have been (and should have been) overcome.114[116] Instead, for short-term cost-saving reasons, an essentially effective scheme was abandoned. We were encouraged that the Minister backed the re-introduction of such a scheme.115[117]

95. In general, it seems that the Government only uses producer responsibility systems where it is required to do so to implement an EU Directive. Amongst the Directives which will require this approach in the near future are the End of Life Vehicles Directive, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and the Batteries Directive. Although Patricia Hewitt, Minister of State for the Department of Trade and Industry, declared that producer responsibility has got a "very important role to play in ensuring that we get much greater recycling and reuse...",116[118] this role is not evident from the Waste Strategy 2000, nor from the rest of her oral evidence.

96. The emphasis is made clear in the memorandum from the DTI:

    "the DTI's general preference is to encourage a voluntary approach to producer responsibility ... DTI is closely involved, with other Departments, in the identification, initiation and development of any new producer responsibility measures."117[119]

97. To date, voluntary initiatives in producer responsibility have made little impact. Aside from the recycled content of newspaper118[120] and a putative attempt to tackle junk mail, there are no meaningful examples which have arisen as a result of Government initiative. When questioned further about this, the Minister could offer no new areas (other than those which will soon be covered by Directives) in which the Government was working to secure a voluntary agreement on producer responsibility.119[121] Problems with voluntary schemes of many different types have been well documented elsewhere: there are questions of enforcement, usually an absence of sanctions for those failing to play their part and, as a result, the 'free rider' problem of companies not playing their part and relying on others within the sector fulfilling their share.120[122] Ultimately, since producer responsibility attempts to make polluters pay, it is not difficult to see why voluntary initiatives of this sort are so scarce. Polluters rarely offer to pay.

98. We did not gain the impression of the DTI acting as a persuasive arm of Government, pressing sectors of business to develop producer responsibility initiatives. Similarly, the CBI appeared to be adopting an essentially defensive approach to waste management and, unfortunately, this attitude extended to producer responsibility. Indeed, if the evidence from the Confederation of British Industry was representative, it is difficult to imagine that this is a fertile area without much greater effort (and the threat of legislation) from Government, preferably without the need for arm-twisting from Europe. The lack of energy and initiative displayed by DTI in this area is perhaps an indication of a wider problem: Peter Jones from Biffa Waste Services Ltd told us that there was a need for DTI to 'buy in' to the need for greater producer responsibility and accept that this would involve increased costs for industry. 121[123] As an example of what can be done with producer responsibility, we have put in Appendix 3 details of the Swedish and Belgian schemes which applied the principle to batteries.

99. Another example of the problems posed by the Government's current approach to producer responsibility is provided by cars: although the End of Life Vehicles Directive will ultimately require manufacturers to take responsibility for cars once they are no longer used, there appear to be no transitional arrangements. This is a major problem for local authorities: the number of abandoned vehicles has risen by some 300% during the last two years as a result of the collapse of the scrap metals markets.

100. Producer responsibility is one of the strongest mechanisms to transform waste management but the Government appears to have a rather sluggish attitude to developing it and applying it to more product streams. Unless this instrument is used more extensively and effectively, the costs of transforming waste management will fall predominantly on the taxpayer in general, rather than industry and the consumers of specific products. In this area, the 'strategy' appears to be to implement any relevant EU Directives whilst paying lip service to developing voluntary initiatives. The stated reliance on a voluntary approach is unlikely to deliver improvements in any but the most straightforward product streams. We await the extension of producer responsibility initiatives to a much broader range of products within the waste stream, including cars, batteries, tyres and chewing gum.

Composting

101. Composting is the most effective way of dealing with garden and other 'green' wastes. Kitchen waste can also be composted under certain conditions. People often refer to a composting 'hierarchy'122[124] - best is home composting; then community composting, whereby organic waste is composted locally within and by the community; then centralised composting, managed by the local authority. Home is considered the most attractive since it involves no additional transport and the compost produced can be used in the householder's garden, thereby returning nutrients and organic matter to the soil. In this way, home composting can also be considered to be very much in line with efforts to minimise waste production.

102. The scale of composting is not fully known since a good deal of it takes place in gardens and is not monitored or measured. The Composting Association survey of 1999 found that around 900,000 tonnes were being composted each year outside of householders' gardens with the vast majority, 800,000 tonnes being processed at 59 centrally-run sites. The targets of relevance to composting are the following:

  • to recycle or compost at least 25% of household waste by 2005

  • to recycle or compost at least 30% of household waste by 2010

  • to recycle or compost at least 33% of household waste by 2015

  • to recover value from 40% of municipal waste by 2005

  • to recover value from 45% of municipal waste by 2010

  • to recover value from 67% of municipal waste by 2015

When asked about the practical implications of these targets, Dr Jane Gilbert of the Composting Association told us that:

    "A rough estimation by 2003 ... is that in England and Wales we need to see somewhere in the region of about two million tonnes per annum composted ... But preliminary results from the Association's survey ... [show] that in England and Wales in 1999 only about 580,000 tonnes of material, municipal waste, was composted in England and Wales. So we are going to need to see virtually a four-fold increase by 2003."123[125]

109. In 1998 we concluded that "We are convinced by the evidence we have received that a future national composting strategy should require the use of source separated waste, to produce an environmentally beneficial end product."124[126] The evidence we heard during the course of this inquiry strengthened our belief that this conclusion remains the right one.

110. The alternative to composting of separated organic materials is composting mixed municipal waste. Inevitably, the final product which results from such a process will be of a lower quality than is produced by composting sorted organic material. The Composting Association wrote of their concern that a lack of resources will hinder waste separation at source resulting in 'mixed waste treatment options' which will produce large quantities of very low-grade product fit only for daily landfill cover. The potential to use composted mixed municipal waste for agriculture is probably limited: the National Farmers Union told us of their concern about contaminants getting into the food chain and the need for "traceability"125[127] - a requirement which can probably never be fulfilled for mixed municipal waste. The Composting Association noted that a number of mixed waste plants abroad failed "because of the poor quality of the material, and particularly the inability to extract small glass fragments from them."126[128]

111. It seems unlikely that mixed waste composting will ever produce a compost of a high enough standard to find acceptable uses. It is also an inefficient use of waste materials. Source separation remains the key to a better waste management system: an expansion of composting, like recycling, will be of greatest merit if it makes use of materials which are separated out by householders. The use of mixed waste to make a compost-like material is a poor alternative which must not be allowed to prosper at the expense of schemes based on source separation and a higher quality product.

112. Standards for compost are important. They reassure those planning to use the compost and give them confidence in a consistent product. Many memoranda suggested that the lack of an agreed definition of compost and the absence of statutory standards for compost posed a significant barrier to increased composting.127[129] The Composting Association wrote that these problems:

    "have the potential to seriously undermine the existing confidence built up over the past decade by operators committed to producing and marketing good quality composts. Today's society has witnessed a number of significant food scares and the Association expresses concern that unless clarification of the terminology and uses of compost is made, similar difficulties may beset the composting industry."128[130]

Given the importance of widely accepted standards of compost, it is somewhat disheartening to hear that the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has offered only "goodwill" in aiding the Composting Association to establish standards.129[131] The Association has received no Government funding to aid the development of standards despite the fact that the research, development and implementation of standards is quite clearly a matter of waste policy. Furthermore, the standards which have been developed have no statutory backing.

113. It is interesting to note that standards are one of the main components of the draft working document on the treatment of biodegradable waste, which was published by the European Commission in October 2000. Despite this, an official from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions told us of his hope that the Commission would not produce a Composting Directive since "it is very difficult to see what an EU Directive would achieve."130[132] It is tempting to point out that such a Directive might at least force the UK Government to support composting standards to a greater extent than it has so far managed. We are pleased that the Composting Association has established a system of standards for the quality of compost but are baffled and disappointed that the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions did not actively assist the Association in doing this. We expect the DETR to take an active role in implementing these standards and ensuring that they become established. If the standards fail to be accepted, we recommend that the Government act to make the standards for compost statutory.

114. There are two specific issues which are of importance to the promotion of household and community composting, which, it is worth recalling, are above central composting in the hierarchy. First, given that home composting is the most attractive form, it is frustrating that it is to be excluded from contributing towards local authority targets for composting. The decision was taken because "there are no reliable ways of measuring either quantities or standards."131[133] But it is estimated that between 200 and 300 thousand tonnes of materials is composted by households, a significant quantity even when compared to the 500 thousand tonnes collected for central composting.132[134] There are various methods which a local authority could use to estimate how much home composting is being carried out. For example, by surveying a sample of households or following up the purchase of home composters. The exclusion from the targets will mean that local authorities no longer have any incentive to facilitate and encourage home composting.133[135] We were at least encouraged that Mr Meacher was able to allay the fears of the Community Composting Network134[136] by stating that community composting would count towards the targets. Although we appreciate the difficulties of counting home composting towards local authority targets, its exclusion is unacceptable. If it is not counted, there is no incentive for local authorities to encourage this, the most desirable form of composting. The Government, the Local Government Association, the Composting Association and the Community Composting Network should work together to find an acceptable proxy for the amount of home composting in the targets for local authorities.

115. The second matter is the continued delay in reviewing the exemptions from the waste management licensing system. We were informed that the current exemptions system effectively makes community composting an illegal activity. The Community Composting Network wrote that:

    "The existing Exemption from Waste Management Licensing Regulations for small composting sites makes it impossible for community composting to sell their product. CCN received a written assurance from the Minister for the Environment in January 1999 that the existing exemption would be revised, followed by an oral assurance ... that the consultation document on the revised exemption would be published in November 1999. The consultation document remains to be published."135[137]

When we confronted the Minister with this matter, he apologised for the delay and promised to publish the consultation "in the next few weeks".136[138] Clearly this matter needs prompt resolution and we urge the Government to publish the consultation document on revised exemptions from the Waste Management Licensing system. This has now been promised for more than two years but has yet to appear. These delays pose problems for many, not least those involved in community composting.


Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC 484-I (1997-98), para graph 20 Back

HC150 (1998-99), paragraph 19 Back

Ev p145 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p205 (HC 903-II) Back

Q920, QQ181-184, QQ414-420 Back

Ev p40 (HC 903-II) Back

Q202 Back

Q925 Back

Q927 Back

Later in this Report, we consider the merits of environmental accounting for business Back

Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC484-I (1997-98) Report, paragraph 33 Back

The precautionary principle states that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. Back

The proximity principle requires that waste should generally be disposed of as near to its place of origin as possible Back

The Best Practicable Environmental Option is defined in the Waste Strategy 2000 as "the outcome of a systematic and consultative decision-making procedure which emphasises the protection and conservation of the environment across land, air and water. The BPEO procedure establishes, for a given set of objectives, the option that provides the most benefits or the least damage to the environment as a whole, at acceptable cost, in the long term as well as in the short term." (Waste Strategy 2000, Part 2, page 27) Back

Ev p109, p303 (HC 903-II); Q934 Back

Q934 Back

See footnote 32 Back

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been set up by the Government (as part of the Waste Strategy 2000) and is charged with overcoming market barriers to promoting re-use and recycling. We discuss the role of WRAP later in this Report. Back

Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC 484-I (1997-98), Paragraph 53 Back

Ev p303 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p158 (HC 903-II) Back

Q943 Back

'Factor 4' and 'Factor 10' are initiatives which aim to show that resource efficiency should be driving much of environmental policy. The number '4' or '10' refers to the increase in efficiency which is possible: '4' for example would mean being able to produce 4 times the amount of products currently produced from the same quantities of raw materials. In this way, it is argued, the environmental impact of consumption can be vastly reduced. Back

Q737; Ev p186 (HC 903-II) Back

Q386 Back

Q945 Back

Ev p40 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p186 (HC 903-II) Back

Waste Strategy 2000, Part 1, Page 15 Back

The Framework Directive on Waste, Council Directive 75/442/EEC, as amended by Council Directive91/156/EEC (OJ L 194, 25.7.75) Back

Ev p95 (HC 903-II) Back

HC149-I, paragraph 45 Back

Ev p140 (HC 903-II) Back

The Government's Response to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee's Report sustainable waste management, September 1998, Cm4058, page 15 Back

Ev p35 (HC 903-II) Back

Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC 484-I (1997-98), para graph 68 Back

Ev p294 (HC 903-II); Q739 Back

Ev p95 (HC 903-II); Q406, Q465, Q542 and Q947 Back

Ev p128 (HC 903-II) Back

Q572 Back

QQ412-413 Back

Ev p35 (HC 903-II) Back

See, for example, Q35; Ev p126, p194 (HC 903-II) Back

Q410 Back

Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC 484-I (1997-98), para graph 75 Back

Creating Wealth from Waste, Robin Murray, Ecologica, Published by Demos, 1999  Back

Q650 Back

Ev p25, p53 (HC 903-II) Back

Q1218 Back

Ev p159 (HC 36-II) Back

Ev p195 (HC 903-II) Back

Q380 Back

Q575 Back

Q576. For example, there have been some reports of sites which, after Christmas, had queues for those wishing to deposit their trees in the green waste section. As a result, there was an incentive for people to dump their trees in the general waste section, where they would not be composted. Back

Q579 Back

Ev p29 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p87 (HC 903-II) Back

Q647 Back

Q6; Ev p25, p35 (HC 903-II) Back

Q760 Back

Q16 Back

Q101 Back

Ev p161 (HC 36-II) Back

Ev p62 Back

Q100 Back

Ev p47, p105 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p172 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p300 (HC 903-II) Back

Waste Strategy 2000, Part 1, page 23 Back

From the Audit Commission's Local Authority Performance Indicators for 1999/00 - England (www.audit-commission.gov.uk) Back

Q560 Back

The matter of funding to local authorities is considered more comprehensively later in this report (see paragraphs 193-195) Back

Beyond the Bin: The Economics of Waste Management options - A Final Report to Friends of the Earth, UK Waste and Waste Watch by ECOTEC Research and Consulting Limited (2000). Back

Ev p42, p47, p115, p200 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p3 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p72 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p206 (HC 903-II) Back

Q681 Back

Q20 Back

Ev p127 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p96 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p107 (HC 903-II) Back

Q685 and Q1050 Back

Q1051 Back

Waste Strategy 2000, Part 1, Page 26, paragraph 3.2  Back

Q682 Back

Q7 Back

Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC 484-I (1997-98), para graph 100 Back

Ev p21, p41, p127, p210 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p127 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p297 (HC 903-II) Back

Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC 484-I (1997-98), para graphs 156-176  Back

Ev p17, p297 (HC 903-II) Back

Q694 Back

Q728 Back

See also Ev p164 (HC 36-II) Back

Q1129 Back

Q1019 Back

Ev p206 (HC 36-II) Back

In April 2000, the Government reached agreement with the Newspaper Publishers Association on future target levels of recycled content of newsprint. The newspaper publishers have agreed to commit to the following targets: 60% recycled content by the end of 2001; 65% recycled content by end of 2003; and 70% recycled content by end of 2006, subject to review in 2001 and 2003. Back

Q1020 Back

Q748 Back

Q22 Back

Ev p25 (HC 903-II) Back

Q245 Back

Sustainable Waste Management, Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee, HC 484-I (1997-98), para graph 110 Back

Q262. 'Traceability' is knowing precisely what materials have been used to make the compost. Back

Q225 Back

Ev p49, p168 (HC 903-II) Back

Ev p168 (HC 903-II) Back

Q220 Back

Q80 Back

Q1205 Back

Q1205 Back

Ev p293 (HC 903-II) Back

Q218 and Q1206 Back

Ev pp111-112 (HC 903-II) Back

Q1262 Back


 
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