Changing waste from a disposal sector to a key commodity is vital to the future of the UK’s waste management, the ICE said this week.
Improving the quality of recycled materials as well as the quantity is also imperative if the UK is to benefit from what ICE President Peter Hansford called ” the enormous amount of [economic] value locked up in the UK’s waste”.
Highlighting the fact that the past decade’s programme of PFI investment in waste infrastructure has ended, the report insisted private investment is now key to ensuring the continued development of the UK’s waste infrastructure. The ICE estimates the investment required will range from £10bn to 20bn in the years leading up to 2020.
“There is an enormous amount of value locked up in the UK’s waste”
Peter Hansford, ICE President
The recommendations came as part of the ICE’s waste-focused State of the Nation report, which was published this week. The report is compiled each year and suggests key actions the ICE believes necessary to improve the nation’s infrastructure.
Focusing on household and commercial and industrial waste – all of which contain materials with a potential high economic value such as paper, plastics, glass, wood and metals – the report warned that failure to invest in a high-quality waste cycle will result in profits from these high-value, saleable materials being lost.
SKM Enviros waste and resource management expert Jonathan Davies said: “The UK’s waste management policy has been too narrowly focused on diverting waste from landfill and local authorities are avoiding fines by increasing the quantity of recycled material. But we still need to drive up the quality of the material being produced.”