Welsh councils encouraged to reveal end markets

The Welsh Assembly Government is urging councils to divulge where their recyclable materials are sent for reprocessing after rejecting proposals to make this a legal obligation.

Jane Davidson, environment minister, WAG

Jane Davidson, environment minister, WAG

 We must stop thinking of waste as something we need to dispose of and start thinking of it as a resource

 
Jane Davidson, environment minister, WAG 

The WAG is encouraging the 22 local authorities in Wales to make use of amendments to the waste database WasteDataFlow to report a range of end markets for recovered material – as opposed to just one destination as was the case in the past.

The mechanism to do this will be also be available to councils in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland when it comes into effect to report data for the period October to December 2010. This data will be made available in March 2011.

The WAG had previously considered proposals to make local authorities legally obligated to report end markets for material to encourage transparency and encourage material to be reprocessed locally.

However, plans tabled by Assembly Member Nerys Evans in February 2008 were criticised for the potential cost involved and loss of competitive advantage (see letsrecycle.com story).

The new amendments to WasteDataFlow have no binding obligation for councils to report the outcomes.

A spokeswoman for the WAG told letsrecycle.com that councils would be “encouraged” to make use of the opportunity as there is “no big stick” in the form of penalties backing up the initiative.

Environment minister Jane Davidson, who had supported Ms Evans’ attempts to drive councils to reveal end markets, welcomed this latest move to encourage councils to offer greater transparency over their recycling.

She said: “We must stop thinking of waste as something we need to dispose of and start thinking of it as a resource. By keeping as much as possible of this waste in Wales local authorities can generate much-needed funds, while Welsh industries won’t need to look overseas for raw materials.

“It is still better to recycle overseas than to landfill at home. But it is greener and makes more financial sense to process recycling here in Wales where Welsh local authorities, businesses and jobs can benefit.”

Reporting

Related links

WAG

Proposals for greater transparency around recycling appeared again in the Wales Municipal Waste Sector Plan – which is intended to feed into the Towards Zero Waste strategy for Wales. In the Sector Plan, it was identified that there was a need for local authorities to “report more accurately”.

Under the previous WasteDataFlow system, councils had to report the final destination of their waste which was categorised by facility type. However, under the new system, councils will be able to put a company and site name against the end location for the material in the question.

The WAG, Environment Agency Wales and the Welsh Local Government Association are working closely with local authorities to help them to make the most of the new system.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply