Dealing with waste is essential for a low carbon future (letter)

Published: 28 Jun 2019

By: NIC

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Close up of a pile of waste plastic

National Infrastructure Commission Chair Sir John Armitt has today written a letter to the editor of the Daily Telegraph in response to its editorial highlighting challenges facing the UK’s waste and recycling infrastructure. The text of the published letter is reproduced below.


‘Sir – Your characterisation of UK recycling as “chaotic” is worryingly accurate.

Dealing with waste is essential for a low-carbon future: higher recycling, especially of plastics, could save Britain £6.2billion over the next 30 years and avoid the need to build 20 additional incinerators. We know people are willing to do their bit, but they tell us the current system is too complicated. A “coherent and consistent approach” is now a matter of some urgency.

Fortunately, the National Infrastructure Assessment has already set out a way forward: a national target for recycling 65 per cent of municipal waste and 75 per cent of plastic packaging by 2030, with financial support for local authorities to achieve this; new incentives in place by 2022 to reduce packaging and make it more easily recyclable; and a national standard of recycling for households and businesses by 2025.

This fully costed plan is eminently deliverable, and one that the new prime minister should champion.’

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