Bosses concerned by proposals for business waste management
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Proposals for the future handling of business waste are anti-competitive and will force successful recycling businesses into administration, The Recycling Association has warned.
While supporting the overall principles of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), and the idea that producers of waste should fund the collection and recycling of materials as proposed under the consultation, the association is hugely concerned about what the business waste proposals will mean for many of its members.
Association chief executive Simon Ellin said: "There is much that we support in this consultation including producers paying for local authority collections, improving the quality of material collected and investment in recycling infrastructure.
"But the proposals on business waste are anti-competitive and risk decimating currently successful and sustainable businesses that collect and recycle business waste.
"There is a very strong argument that waste management costs are currently dealt with by businesses as part of their day-to-day operations and it would make sense for this to continue in most circumstances.
"Rather than tearing up the existing system, we should make it more effective by legislating and regulating for businesses to separate materials in order to promote high quality recycling.
"We need a nip and tuck, not a revolution. If you take cardboard, circa 80% of the cardboard is already recovered and the fibre we get from businesses tends to be very high quality. We don't need to start all over again, but build on what we already have to collect more. Business collections are already a mature and successful market that encourages innovation. It is not a broken system like household that requires reform.
"Why should we transfer £1.5 billion in costs (Defra figures) to producers for marginal gain that has the effect of wiping out recycling businesses but benefits local authorities? The Government should be supporting the free market in the collection and recycling of business waste, not state control of the market funded by producers."
Under the three options proposed by Defra in the consultation for business waste, there would be intervention by the proposed Scheme Administrator in the market. In the most extreme parts of these proposals, commercial recycling and waste businesses would lose control of the material. Instead, compliance schemes or the Scheme Administrator would handle the material, despite having no expertise in doing this.
Additionally, Defra has also proposed creating commercial zones for waste collection later this decade, and again this is opposed by The Recycling Association.