What did the waste sector achieve in 2014?

Written by: Recycling Waste World | Published:

This year ended much like the last: in disappointment. But despite the lack of interest shown in waste policy across Whitehall and, perhaps even Europe, the sector has carried on regardless. Freelance writer, David Burrows looks at the highs and lows of the UK waste management industry over the last 12 months.

The circular economy emerged as a clear theme in 2014. Wales has been buoyed by impressive recycling rates, while Scotland can enjoy a wee dram to celebrate the first 12 months of its new zero waste agenda. Northern Ireland has seen a drop of almost two per cent of waste going to landfill along with a rise in recycling and composting. So what about England? 


January


Politics:


Eric Pickles’ “bin bible” is published, then re-published, but still most people ignored it. The focus, unsurprisingly, was on weekly collections, but the sector saw through the tactics as “a crude attempt to force public behaviour”


The government is criticised by a Lords committee for a lack of waste data and a “hodgepodge” of incentives to deliver a bioeconomy


Infrastructure:


GIB announces new £250m energy recovery centre in Teeside


MRWA unveils plans for a new HWRC


Hills Waste Solutions completes Wiltshire’s first MBT


The Dorset Waste Partnership gets the go-ahead for new waste management centre in Bridport


Industry:


Grundon commits to go carbon neutral across its fleet


Waste companies urge government to see energy from waste (EfW) as a “vote winner”


The Cooperative launches compostable bags for customers


DONG Energy unveils a new enzymatic treatment of unsorted municipal sold waste


What we learned:


Women are better at recycling than men - 39% sort their rubbish properly compared to 19% (Businesswaste.co.uk)


February


Politics:


Zero Waste Scotland splits from WRAP so it can align itself more closely with the Waste (Scotland) Regulations


The Conservative 2020 Group recommends landfill bans and moving waste policy from Defra to BIS


Wrap CEO Liz Goodwin admits she is “frustrated” by progress to deliver on food waste reduction


Infrastructure:


The South East London combined heat & power (CHP) facility in Deptford celebrates 20 years in action


Tamar Energy signs £1.7m deal to take green and food waste from Essex County Council


Industry:


Shanks publishes a positive interim financial statement


A new quality protocol for biomethane is launched


What we learned:


There’s not enough evidence to prove that incentive schemes for recycling are worth the money (Eunomia/Serco)


CIWM reported that 20% of waste industry professionals have found someone sleeping in a bin


March


Politics:


Chancellor George Osborne announces, as part of the Budget, that landfill tax will increase in line with the retail price index, rounded to the nearest 5p, from 1 April 2015


The EU recycled or composted 42% of municipal waste in 2012


Infrastructure:


The audit commission reports that local authorities spent £46m less on household waste in 2012/13 compared to 2009/10


The Green Alliance think tank claims that landfill bans for a range of materials could create 47,500 jobs in the UK 


Industry:


Sixty firefighters tackle a blaze of plastics and wood at a Cardiff recycling centre and the Chief Fire Officers Association publishes a report showing the cooperation bet


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