The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has revealed its updated Waste Management Plan for England.
Published last week (27 Jan), the revised plan is part of the Government’s aim to move toward a circular economy and hit its net zero emissions targets in line with its 25 Year Environment Plan.
The goals set out in the document are part of the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) intended to help us to make better use of our resources and reduce the waste we create in order to cut down on emissions from the sector and their impact on the environment. The plan is also supplemented with a Waste Prevention Programme for England, which will set out plans for preventing products and materials from becoming waste.
The RWS identifies the key ambitions of reducing plastic waste and phasing out single use plastics, eliminating food waste from landfill and increasing resource productivity. Greater efficiency of energy from waste facilities is recognised as of high importance in the Waste Management Plan, with an aim of ensuring that all future energy from waste plants achieve recovery (R1) status by producing heat for heat networks. This reduces emissions significantly by making use of otherwise wasted heat to displace gas boiler heating.
Currently, only around a quarter of EfW facilities are operating in combined heat and power mode and the plan stresses the importance of increasing this. Funding in England and Wales will come through the government’s £320m Heat Networks Investment Project which has announced over £76m in funding to 13 projects so far including six EfW plants. The plan also supports the BEIS £270m Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) scheme, expected to open in 2022.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Our Waste Management Plan is an important part of transforming how we manage our waste and resources, outlining how waste can be processed, recycled and disposed of in the most efficient and sustainable ways.
“The updated plan reflects ambitious new government commitments. These include recycling at least 65% of our municipal waste by 2035 with only 10% being sent to landfill, as well as measures to tackle litter. We have committed to leave the environment in a better state than that in which we inherited it, and this is an important step forwards.”
The Environment Bill, which was delayed last week until the next parliamentary session, requires the Secretary of State to set long-term legally binding environmental targets by 31 October 2022. Targets currently under consideration include increasing resource productivity and reducing the volume of ‘residual’ waste produced.