The UK government has launched its Circular Economy Package (CEP), setting out its approach to transposing the European Union package into UK law.
The new legislation will be introduced later this year and will result in a reduction in the number of materials that can be landfilled or incinerated, as well as a requirement that waste which is separately collected for recycling must not be incinerated or sent to landfill.
The European CEP set a range of targets, including 65% recycling of municipal waste and no more than 10% municipal waste to go to landfill by 2035. The package was initially consulted and voted on by the UK as part of its membership with the EU, but with Brexit negotiations and potential for a “No deal” departure, some environmental groups have raised concerns that the UK’s environmental legislation will be negatively impacted.
The government says that transposing the CEP into UK law reaffirms its commitment to ensure environmental standards are upheld after Brexit.
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “We are committed to increasing our recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill to create a cleaner waste industry and reduce carbon emissions.
“Through our landmark Environment Bill we will be bringing forward a raft of measures to do just that, and this new Circular Economy Package takes us yet another step forward to transforming our waste industry.”
Jimmy Dorrell, head of sustainable business at Clarity Environmental, was pleased at the forward momentum of UK environmental legislation.
“It is positive to see our targets align with the rest of Europe, but this must also be realistic to the UK’s current infrastructure. The level of recycling in England has flagged over the past years, and is currently not on track to reach the target of 50% in 2020. Hopefully, through the consultations, we can begin to address the need for investment to ensure our infrastructure is able to meet the ambitious target of recycling 70% by 2030, which is vital for our climate change commitments.”
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