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Bradshaw warns: action needed on business waste

Defra : 27 March, 2006  (Company News)
Ben Bradshaw today urged businesses to take more action on waste as business and industrial waste issues are 'moving up the political agenda'. The Local Environmental Quality Minister comments come as Defra announce a new programme of pilot studies, business support services and research to help businesses get smarter in how they manage their resources and ultimately wastage.
The Government's Business Resource Efficiency and Waste programme recycles revenue generated through increases in Landfill Tax and ploughs it back into a range of research, free services and support programmes for businesses.

Ultimately the programme, now in its second year, aims to reduce the amount of business waste being sent to landfill by eliminating it where possible and encouraging more innovative use of waste as a resource.

Currently, for every tonne of household waste produced, a further ten tonnes of commercial and industrial waste is produced. Defra modelling suggests that commercial waste is likely to grow from 2002 levels by 13% by 2010, 33% by 2015 and 52% by 2020.

Among the support services being confirmed under the BREW programme today, Defra has confirmed its intention to fund the following pilot studies:

- Evidence for Remanufacturing , an evidence base is to be established to show the potential of remanufacturing goods.
- Central support service for local authorities to disseminate best practice on providing advice for local businesses on how to manage their waste. This pilot will be led by the LGA, the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme and Oxfordshire County Council.
- Strategic approach construction waste , a pilot to establish a road map for enhancing the construction industry's approach to resource efficiency over the next 5-10 years.
- Certificate in recycling and sustainability , Middlesex University will develop an online waste 'hub', certificate and training for managers and SMEs among businesses in three pilot regions.
- A voluntary water performance information labelling scheme for businesses is to be developed, consulted upon and introduced by the Market Transformation Programme.
- A business link diagnostic tool will be developed and rolled out to all Business Links in the South East to help identify SMEs who would benefit from BREW funded programmes.
- Construction mentoring programme will be piloted in the North East with 15 local construction companies. The programme will help the companies develop and implement site waste management plans.
- Compost doctors will work with 6 catering businesses in a pilot scheme to train and coach staff on compost production using waste from the kitchen.
- Sector-specific environmental management systems will be developed and rolled out to 20 companies within three trade associations, with potential roll-out to their members.

Funding has also been confirmed for the Carbon Trust, Envirowise, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, Environment Agency, National Industrial Symbiosis Programme, the Market Transformation Programme, and others.

Details of today's schemes coincide with the Government's ongoing consultation on its review of England's waste strategy. The consultation proposes to give a much greater emphasis on managing and reducing business waste in the future.

Ben Bradshaw warned that business waste in all its guises must move up the corporate agenda:

'The days of dig and dump are over. Businesses must get smarter in how they handle their waste and our current consultation on England's waste strategy underlines this point.

'The impacts of our everyday consumption patterns on the environment remain severe. The inefficient use of resources can also affect business competitiveness, including small businesses.

'We need to see a revolution in smarter design of products so they are less wasteful and are easier to recycle, we need to see more businesses being more creative with what they do about their waste, and ultimately eliminating a lot of it completely. It's about doing more with less.

'With commercial and industrial waste growing at an alarming rate, waste from these sources is moving up the political agenda: waste not just about household recycling. There has never been a more relevant time for businesses to get involved.'

Among the measures being proposed in the Government's review of England's waste strategy are new targets to cut the amount of waste being sent to landfill by business and industry and a greater emphasis on eco-design, designing out environmental problems such as waste and energy use before they even reach the consumer, and producer responsibility agreements.
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