Government cuts could lead to England missing its recycling targets, leading recyclers have warned.
In giving evidence to the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee inquiry, ECO Plastics founder and deputy chairman Jonathan Short said that Government cuts have led to Defra pulling back from making urgently needed policy reforms, just at the point when they are needed most.
England’s progress towards meeting the EU target of 50 per cent of household waste by 2020 has slowed significantly rising just 0.1 per cent in the 12 months to June 2013 to reach 43.4 per cent.
Jonathan Short said: “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.
“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 maximize our recycling capability in the UK and establish a truly circular economy.”
He called for three changes that are necessary to drive successful change in the recycling economy.
These are reform of the PRN and PERN system to level the playing field between domestic and export recyclers, for Government to put recycling and the creation of a successful circular economy at the heart of economic policy, and Government should use the funds from the proposed plastic bag charge in England for a national public awareness campaign.
SITA UK chief executive David Palmer-Jones said that the Government wasn’t providing the waste industry with certainty.
He added: “These is political instability, a lack of leadership and a lack of vision. There is a real risk of market failure.”