The ICE has urged ministers to act to create a market in resource rich waste, following publication of the government’s new waste review.
The call reinforces one of the recommendations in the ICE’s State of the Nation report on waste, published earlier this year.
The government’s Review of Waste Policy, published last week by environment secretary Caroline Spelman, acknowledged that there were problems with the current model of refuse collection and recycling. “We still send so much to landfill in England that it is a potential resource,” it says.
It outlined ambitious plans to create a “zero waste” economy by 2020.
ICE waste and resources management panel chairman Phil Butler said: “If government is serious about achieving a zero waste economy we need to focus on quality and quantity of recycled materials.
“This will ensure that the UK gets the maximum environmental and economic benefits”.
The government also announced plans for a £10M fund to build more anaerobic digestion plants to create energy from soft food waste.
The ICE expressed disappointment that the government has ruled out the fast tracking of such energy from waste projects through the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
But the ICE said the government’s policy did address one of the biggest issues in the waste sector - the availability of information - and welcomed a commitment to improve this.
Highlighting the fact that the past decade’s programme of PFI investment in waste infrastructure has ended, the ICE estimated that the investment required would range from £10bn to £20bn in the years leading up to 2020.