§ Mr. Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps the Government have taken in addressing the option of waste reduction in meeting their recycling targets.
§ Mr. Yeo
The Government have set a target for recycling 25 per cent. of household waste by the end of the decade. This target relates to materials recycling and composting. However, it is clearly better to avoid waste in the first place, where that is a practicable option, and the Government employ a variety of measures to encourage waste minimisation. In addition to providing for the minimisation of the discharge of pollutant substances, the Environmental Protection Act establishes stringent standards for waste disposal. When fully implemented, these standards will increase the costs of disposal and provide an additional incentive to minimise waste. The Government also run programmes to raise awareness in companies of the benefits of waste minimisation; to demonstrate best practice; and to provide advice and information on cleaner technology for industry. A number of major companies have now set themselves waste reduction targets.
§ Mr. Yeo
Most local authorities are starting to implement recycling plans which extend over a number of years and we expect to approve those plans which have been submitted more recently by the end of the summer. It would be premature to attempt to assess how much progress has been made in implementation at this early stage.
§ Mr. Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what effect the import into the United Kingdom of German waste seeking processing outlets is having on package waste disposal in the United Kingdom; and what plans he has to protect schemes in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Butler
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how the Government intend to take forward their proposals for increasing the recycling of packaging and other goods and to deal with the threat posed by schemes in other countries.
§ Mr. Gummer
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Technology and I have today invited the major organisations involved in the packaging chain to draw up a plan by which industry will take responsibility for ensuring that the majority of used packaging is not simply thrown away but returned to beneficial use. We expect this plan to make a significant contribution to meeting the Government's target of recycling 25 per cent. of household waste by the end of the decade.891W
Recycling minimises the use which we as individuals make of the earth's limited resources and there is already a great commitment to it in many parts of the community. Voluntary groups, charitable bodies, dedicated individuals, business and local authorities have all done much to establish a basic framework of schemes. But today many of these schemes face a crisis and, if we are to safeguard this potential for growth, we need to adopt comprehensive measures which involve all the relevant business sectors.
I believe that many of those in the packaging chain—retailers, fillers, and manufacturers of packaging materials and packaging accept that they should share responsibility for what happens to packaging once it has served its original purpose. My predecessors and colleagues at the Department of Trade and Industry have been discussing with the industry for the past two years how that responsibility might be put into practice.
We have made useful progress in our discussions. But our long-term goals are being put in danger by the damage being caused to Britain's recycling efforts by measures elsewhere in Europe. Many of our European partners are introducing recycling schemes for packaging, but in some of those schemes there is an alarming imbalance between what is collected and the ability to reprocess it. We need to ensure that we get this balance right and that we sustain the recycling infrastructure which we have painstakingly built up so far.
We have therefore decided that urgent action is necessary and that it is time to spell out what the Government expect of industry. That is why I will be meeting senior representatives of retailers, fillers of packaging and manufacturers of packaging and packaging materials over the next few weeks.
We will invite them to produce a plan which meets the following objectives:producers—retailers, fillers and manufacturers of packaging and packaging materials—must take a share of responsibility for what happens to packaging once it has served its original purpose, while minimising the packaging deemed essential;producers would show that they accept that responsibility by delivering targets for the amount of used packaging which they recover. We accept that recovery targets above 75 per cent. are unlikely to be practicable by the end of the decade. So we are asking them to commit themselves to ensuring that between 50 and 75 per cent. of all packaging waste—the precise level to be agreed with Government—is recovered by the year 2000;producers would bear any extra cost of setting up systems to meet the recovery targets;we will emphasise to producers the importance of their taking immediate action to ensure that a recycling infrastructure—collectors and processors—continues to be available to them, so that they can meet their recovery targets.
We welcome the initiative already taken by the Institute of Grocery Distribution to finance pilot recycling collection schemes. We would support the idea that recognition should be given to those companies who have contributed to such schemes, when more comprehensive arrangements are established.
We are inviting leading figures in the industry to report back by the end of October on the action which they have taken to help collection and processing operations to continue, especially for waste paper and board and plastics. And we are asking them to present us with an effective plan for meeting the objectives which I have outlined, before Christmas 1993. We will make clear to industry that it should ensure that its plans are compatible with United Kingdom and EC competition law.892W
If the industries concerned cannot satisfy us by Christmas that they are committed to achieving the objectives, or if they decide that legislative backing is necessary, we will need to move towards a legislative approach to mandating producer responsibility.
We believe that one of the benefits of introducing a scheme of producer responsibility will be that we are better able to demonstrate, in our discussions on a European Community packaging directive, that it is possible to reduce the environmental impact of packaging significantly without placing unreasonable burdens on business. We also wish to ensure that the targets contained in the directive are realistic.
My colleagues and I will also continue our discussions with industries dealing with other waste streams on how they could shoulder responsibility for the wastes which their activities generate. In particular, I will be inviting the newspaper publishers to discuss these issues with me.
The initiative which we are announcing today will form an important part of our recycling strategy. It will allow the public, who would like to see less packaging and who do not want throw away materials which could be used again, to recycle much more than they can at present. It will be another important step in moving towards a society whose daily 'habits preserve the world for future generations.
§ Mr. Yeo
The following grants have been made available for recycling projects under the environmental action fund in 1993–94:
Waste Watch, National £196,987 Community Recycling Network, National £30,000 Eureka Museum for Children, Halifax £21,950 Action Resource Centre, Nottinghamshire £13,000 Avon Friends of the Earth £11,200 Cash from Trash, Wakefield £31,939 Bristol Recycling Consortium £20,000 Wastestream Systems Ltd., London £18,780 Wyecycle, Wye £15,000
The DTI also makes funds available to businesses for innovative recycling projects under the environmental technology innovation scheme—ETIS—EUROENVIRON scheme, and environmental management options scheme—DEMOS.
The following local authorities have also been allocated supplementary credit approvals to support capital expenditure on waste recycling for 1993–94:893W
Authority Allocation £'000 London Boroughs Barnet 200 Bromley 13.5 Croydon 155 Ealing 1.175 Enfield 50 Hackney 170 Haringey 20 Hillingdon 5 Kingston upon Thames 48 Lambeth 112.25 Merton 97 Newham 100 Redbridge 168 Richmond 70 Southwark 30 Sutton 365 Tower Hamlets 53 Waltham Forest 150 Wandsworth 20 Metropolitan Authorities Barnsley 135 Bolton 75 Bury 30 Calderdale 30 Doncaster 16 Dudley 100 Gateshead 35.5 Kirklees 35 Knowsley 110 Leeds 1,410 Liverpool 270 Newcastle upon Tyne 600 Oldham 98 Rochdale 36 Rotherham 19 St. Helens 7.7 Sandwell 820 South Tyneside 7 Stockport 55.575 Wakefield 340 West Yorkshire Waste Management 1,137 Wirral 24 Wolverhampton 53 County Councils Cambridgeshire 240 Cornwall 40 Cheshire 20 Cumbria 105 Devon 240 Durham 50 Hampshire 517 Hereford and Worcester 11 Hertfordshire 20 Leicestershire 106 Lincolnshire 175 Northumberland 7 North Yorkshire 76.5 Nottinghamshire 175 Oxfordshire 150 Somerset 78.5 Suffolk 48 Wiltshire 20 District Councils Adur 40 Allerdale 75 Alnwick 33 Amber Valley 20 Bassetlaw 8 Bath 20.4 Beverley 20 Blaby 40 Bournemouth 29 Brighton 60
Authority Allocation £'000 Bristol 248.75 Broxbourne 105 Browtowe 77 Burnley 45 Carlisle 20 Chelmsford 20 Cheltenham 60 Cherwell 15 Chester 200 Chesterfield 28 Chiltern 50 Copeland 48 Craven 50 Darlington 6 Derby 70 Easington 7.8 East Dorset 15 East Hertfordshire 42 Eden 13 Ellesmere Port and Neston 10 Gedling 13 Great Grimsby 70 Guildford 60 Harborough 30 Harlow 17 Hartlepool 150 Hastings 50 Havant 17.5 Hinckley and Bosworth 20 Hull 175 Hyndburn 30 Kerrier 125 Lancaster 20 Lanbaugh on Tees 64 Leicester 90 Melton 40 Mid Bedfordshire 35 Mid Suffolk 60.5 Middlesborough 23 Milton Keynes 1,450 Newark and Sherwood 50 North Dorset 25 North Hertfordshire 12 Norwich 20 Nottingham 71.8 Nuneaton and Bedworth 37 Oswestry 65 Oxford 205 Pendle 15 Peterborough 12.35 Plymouth 160 Poole 37.5 Portsmouth 10 Preston 10 Reading 15 Ribble Valley 7 Rochester upon Medway 145 Rother 40 Rushmoor 70 Scarborough 25 Selby 30 Shrewsbury and Atcham 50 South Derbyshire 50 South Herefordshire 20 South Lakeland 28.75 South Norfolk 50 South Northamptonshire 75 South Somerset 100 St. Albans 70 St. Edmundsbury 26.5 Stockton on Tees 96.5 Surrey Heath 42 Tendring 4 Test Valley 91.5 Tewkesbury 30 Vale of White Horse 20 Watford 30
Authority Allocation £'000 Waverley 30 Wealdon 100 Welwyn Hatfield 40 West Devon 75 West Dorset 20 West Wiltshire 116 Winchester 26 Woking 33.7 Wokingham 40 Woodspring 10 Wrekin 90 Wychavon 15 Wycombe 20