Norris confirms long-term aim of zero waste nation

Environment minister Dan Norris has announced his support for turning England into a ‘zero waste nation’ and confirmed that a consultation on landfill bans is set to be launched in the next few weeks.

However, the notion of ‘zero waste’ was criticised as “misleading”, with claims it will only amount to “nice rhetoric”. Mr Norris explained that the long-term ambition of Defra was to create a ‘zero waste nation’ and he gave an indication that this would be achieved by a keener focus on organics recycling.

Environment minister Hilary Benn first outlined this zero waste vision in October 2009, when the minister identified the need for greater work on food waste and for a wider range of materials to be collected at the kerbside by all local authorities by 2020.

Linked to proposed landfill bans for food waste, Mr Norris also pointed to the work being done by the government to reduce food waste through support for organic waste treatment facilities and funding for the kerbside collection of kitchen waste.

Mr Norris highlighted support Defra has given to the organics recycling sector through WRAP’s Organics Capital Grants Programme, which has seen the government involved in the development of five organics recycling facilities to date with “plans in the pipeline for even more”.

The minister added that there was a need to help develop the food waste collection infrastructure in order to make sure that the treatment facilities are sustainable. “It is not just the plants itself, we need to collect the food waste to go into them,” he said. “Now, over 80 local authorities do some food waste and along with WRAP we are working with local authorities to develop more.”

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