Call for evidence for Waste Prevention Plan

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has today (11 March), opened a call for evidence for England’s National Waste Prevention Plan (NWPP).

Article 29 (3) of the European Commission’s revised Waste Framework Directive (rWFD), states that, to increase waste prevention, all member states have to ‘develop National Waste Prevention Programmes (NWPPs) concentrating on the key environmental impacts and taking into account the whole life-cycle of products and materials’, by 12 December 2013.

While some in the industry have accused Defra of ‘dragging its heels’ on an NWPP, the department has always maintained it would meet the 12 December deadline. What’s more, the EC’s handbook on NWPPs states that the ‘planning and the decision’ of the programme have to be finalised at this date, but not the ‘implementation and evaluation’.

According to the handbook, the purpose of the NWPPs is to ‘move member states broadly towards the long-term goal of phasing out waste’ and states that the ‘stabilisation of waste generation’ is a key preliminary aim, followed by targets for ‘absolute reductions over five to twenty years’.

All NWPPs will also need to be reviewed and revised at least every six years and will have to take into account the EC’s own waste prevention and decoupling objectives, which will be released by the end of 2014.

Defra is now calling on ‘individuals and organisations that have an interest in greater resource efficiency and reducing the amount of waste being produced across the economy’ to respond to questions in its call for evidence documentation that will ‘be used to support development of the programme’.

According to the call for evidence documentation, the consultation paper ‘sets out the evidence [Defra has], priorities, barriers, opportunities and ongoing action, and invites views and information to help inform the programme’.

Responses are now needed to gather data to ‘expand [Defra’s] knowledge base’ on ‘barriers to reducing waste arisings in England through waste prevention, reuse and repair’.

However, Defra highlights that waste prevention ‘does not include waste management activities such as recycling’.

According to Defra, the UK uses approximately 470 million tonnes (Mt) of material resources each year, with over 250Mt of resources becoming waste each year. Evidence from 2009 shows that simple measures to produce less waste, which pay for themselves within a year, could save UK businesses around £17 billion and avoid greenhouse gas emissions of 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) annually.

Call for evidence questions

The call for evidence asks stakeholders to outline a range of actions and methods in promoting waste reduction and prevention, including:

  • identifying ‘priority areas’ for action;
  • outlining barriers to prevention, reuse and repair;
  • outlining ‘realistic’ targets over the next 10 years;
  • identifying suitable metrics for measuring waste prevention;
  • providing the amount and composition of waste produced by businesses and sectors;
  • identifying ‘key opportunities for expansion’ for growth of reuse, remanufacturing and repair; and
  • providing evidence for incentives that help to drive waste prevention and/or reuse behaviours.

The call will close on 29 April.

The devolved administrations are developing their own NWPPs, which will be published separately.

Read the call for evidence documentation or find out more about National Waste Prevention Programmes.