Public frustrated with complex recycling finds NIC report

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
The report called for separate food waste collections

The public is becoming frustrated with the complexity of recycling despite overall support, says a new National Infrastructure Assessment report.

Published by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), the report said the UK must take decisive action to have world leading infrastructure.

It set a series of targets including half of the UK’s power provided by renewables by 2030 and three quarters of plastic packaging to be recycled by 2030.

There is a “quiet revolution” going on in the areas of low cost and low carbon electricity, heat and waste, according to the report.

It called for separate food waste collections and made the case for processing the waste in anaerobic digesters over Energy from Waste plants due to potential savings.

Around 79% of those who do not current use a food waste bin would be prepared to use one if it was provided by the council, the report said.

It also argued for hard-to-recycle plastic packaging to be restricted by 2025.

This would be achieved by better packaging design, clearer labelling, fewer hard to recycle plastics and tougher recycling targets than the current 65% of municipal waste and 75% of plastic packaging by 2030.

NIC said these suggestions would reduce residual waste and reduce the need to build more infrastructure.

The report was largely welcomed by industry leaders.

David Palmer-Jones, SUEZ CEO, said: “It’s in everyone’s interest to cut the amount of rubbish we produce and the NIC rightly determines that more should be done to recycle and remove plastics from Energy from Waste.

“The NIC findings support a golden triangle of: reducing waste; upping recycling rates from what we make and consume; and finally recovering the energy.”

Paul Vanston, INCPEN CEO welcomed the joined-up thinking.

He said: “I was very pleased NIC colleagues sought information, understanding and support from the sectors involved in the recycling and waste value chain.

“This has enabled today’s Assesment to be well informed, and better crafted, with purposeful recommendations that can be acted upon by the government, businesses and communities.”

Dustin Benton, policy director at Green Alliance, added that the report showed how “going for clean growth is good for Britain”.

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