Recolight’s response to Government’s waste review
The Government’s long anticipated waste review is now out, and, as the first responses appear online, we thought we would add our thoughts into the melting pot.
It is really encouraging to see that the UK’s domestic recycling rate is up to 40%. We’ve still got a long way to go, but it shows how far we have come since the days when everything went in a black sack never to be seen or thought of again.
As for the review, a few key points which stand out for us are the emphasis on prevention, encouraging the empowerment of local communities and the Government’s commitment to making it easier for SME’s to recycle.
When it comes to low energy light bulbs, prevention just isn’t an option. Unlike many other forms of WEEE which can often be reused, reconditioned or sold on to make way for more advanced technologies, once a light bulb reaches end-of-life it needs to be disposed of. Hopefully through our recycling scheme which then ensures the recovery and reuse of the component parts.
Empowering local communities to recycle
Recolight has long believed that local communities can lead the way with recycling initiatives, and our community recycling scheme in partnership with CoBRA is already well underway, with many local authorities across the country also supporting the scheme such as Reading, Tewkesbury and Mid-Devon.
Better enforcement non-compliant businesses
We welcome the announcement that Defra, BIS and the Environment Agency will work to identify how the burden of compliance on legitimate businesses can be reduced. There is definitely a need for greater targeting of enforcement action on non-compliant businesses – it will ensure that compliant businesses benefit from regulation.
Making it easier for SMEs to recycle
Where waste from smaller businesses is similar in nature and quantity to household waste it does indeed make sense to collect and treat those materials together. However, we are concerned that the current potential for systemic abuse in the closed WEEE market means that the provision of a positive service to SMEs could inadvertently result in significant misuse of the WEEE system.
Insufficient attention given to WEEE
There seems to be insufficient attention given to the specific requirements of individual waste streams such as WEEE. The environmental impact of not recycling low-energy light bulbs and other forms of WEEE could be significant, and although they are not items which need to be disposed of on a daily basis (unlike paper, plastic and glass) we would like to see much greater support given to educate people about the importance of recycling them.
Producer Responsibility legislation
There is a recommendation for enforcement agencies to simplify the compliance scheme system “…to deliver reduced administrative burdens, lower costs and a reduced risk of inadvertent non-compliance for regulated businesses.” We would actively support moves to simplify compliance systems to ensure that the focus of producer schemes is to improve recycling for all, and to minimise the potential for abuse of such systems.