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Residual waste infrastructure project ‘essential’ to Northern Ireland

The arc21 residual waste project is an ‘essential’ part of Northern Ireland’s waste management plans, according to a report by consultancy Grant Thornton.

The business consultancy stated that the £240-million privately-funded project, which will include a 120,000-tonne energy-from-waste facility, was a strategic necessity for Northern Ireland, due to ‘severely limited’ public finances, reduced landfill capacity and a worsening economic situation provoked by the Covid-19 crisis.

The report, commissioned by private sector investor Indaver, which hopes to build the Mallusk EfW for arc21, claims that the project will alleviate a sizable financial burden from local authorities dealing with their residual waste.

Circular economy could boost UK economy by £75bn, says WRAP

A circular economy will help the UK build back better, bolstering the economy by £75 billion and creating half a million jobs, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Releasing its ‘Six steps to build a better economy’ today (29 June), WRAP outlines that a circular transition has the potential to rebuild a sustainable and resilient economy going forward after the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with the UK’s exit from the EU on the horizon.

Aside from addressing structural employment across the country by fostering 500,000 jobs and injecting £75 billion to the economy, WRAP reports that a circular business model, which sees materials kept in circulation throughout the economy for as long as possible, would mean 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are avoided, the equivalent to taking one out of five cars off the road.

Additionally, harnessing the potential of a circular transition could deliver 21 million tonnes in material savings and over 38 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill.

Northern Ireland launches consultation on future of recycling

Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has launched a consultation on the future of recycling in the country as it seeks to reach a 65 per cent recycling rate by 2035.

The DAERA consultation will cover a range of proposals for recycling strategy in several areas, including business food waste, household food waste, segregating waste, and maximising business recycling while alleviating cost burden.

Proposals for households include restricting residual waste levels to divert more materials towards recycling, a core set of dry recyclable materials to be collected by all Northern Irish councils, and increased transparency of information on the end-of-destination for household recycling.

Climate change committee urges UK to adopt circular economy

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has urged the government to accelerate the transition to a circular economy as part of a Covid-19 recovery plan that prioritises the climate crisis, reiterating its call for a ban on biodegradable wastes to landfill by 2025.

Releasing its annual report to Parliament yesterday (25 June) on the UK’s progress on its climate goals, the CCC outlined where the government has been falling behind its targets and where action needs to be focused in the coming months and years.

The CCC has called for a ban on biodegradable wastes to landfill by 2025, a 70 per cent recycling target by 2035 and the mandatory reporting of food waste from businesses, among other circular economy policies.

UK carpet collections fall by 10 per cent

Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) has released its latest carpet recycling and diversion figures, which show that carpet collections have fallen by 10 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

The latest data for 2019 reveals that the volume of carpet waste diverted from landfill in the UK was 158,577 tonnes, down from 172,252 tonnes in 2018. Based on last year’s figures, a 10 per cent fall would result in the collection of 360,000 tonnes of carpet this year, meaning that CRUK’s 2019 diversion rate is 44 per cent. This is off-track for the organisation’s 2020 goal of a 60 per cent diversion rate.

UK households hoarding electricals worth £17bn

UK households could have made £17 billion from second hand resale value of the old small electricals lying around their home, around £620 per household, according to a recent study by non-profit organisation Material Focus.

The study, released yesterday (24 June) and entitled ‘Hidden Treasures’, revealed that households across the UK are throwing away 155,000 tonnes of small electricals every year. This equates to a total of 527 million disused electrical products, or 20 per household. If these products were to be reused or passed on, they would have a total resale value of £17 billion.

In turn, the reuse or passing on of disused electricals would result in potential savings of £370 million for the UK economy. This figure is the total value of the valuable or rare metals, such as gold, silver, aluminium or steel, found in these products.

UK households to discard 67 million clothes

67 million items of clothing could be discarded by UK households once the Covid-19 lockdown ends, says a new survey.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) revealed two in five citizens are having a clear-out of clothing during lockdown, forecasting two out of three people will give unwanted clothing items to charity in the coming weeks but expresses concern that 14 per cent could dispose of items in the general rubbish.

Reusables are safe to use during pandemic, say experts

A group of 119 experts and scientists have signed a statement reassuring the public that reusable containers are safe to use during the Covid-19 pandemic, provided hygiene measures are followed.

Experts have rebuffed claims that single-use packaging can help limit the spread of the coronavirus, explaining that the available evidence indicates that the Covid-19 virus spreads primarily from inhaling droplets in the air, rather than through contact with surfaces.

The group of experts state that the virus sticks to contact surfaces for varying times depending on the material and any object in a public space should be considered as potentially contaminated, whether single-use or reusable. To minimise the risk of infection, containers should be thoroughly washed with hot water and detergent or soap, while people should adhere to hygiene practices such as regularly washing hands and avoiding touching their face.

Brexit risk to waste and resources increasing, says Greener UK

The risk posed to the waste and resources sector by Brexit has increased over the last few months, with the UK falling further behind EU standards and ambition, according to Greener UK’s latest Brexit Risk Tracker.

Released on Friday (19 June), the Risk Tracker labels the waste and resources sector at ‘high risk’ over the potential impact of Brexit, with that risk continuing to increase.

Among the reasons for the increased risk level are the delay to a number of consultations on a number of aspects of the Resources and Waste Strategy and transposing the EU’s Circular Economy Package into law and the delay to the introduction of single-use plastic legislation.

84 per cent of UK public supports ‘all in’ DRS

84 per cent of the British public believes all drinks containers should be included in the government’s proposed deposit return scheme (DRS), a new poll finds.

The poll conducted by Populus has found the vast majority of the British public are in support of an ‘all in’ DRS, which would see all drinks containers, regardless of size and material, carry a deposit redeemable upon return of the container to incentivise recycling.

The UK Government has committed to introducing a DRS covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2023 in a bid to increase the recycling of single-use drinks containers.