December 2013

Eunomia Launches Waste Prevention ‘Wish-List’

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In anticipation of the imminent launch of Defra’s Waste Prevention Programme for England, Eunomia has published its own waste prevention ‘wish-list’.

The short document presents five measures that would spread “a little more joy and a lot less waste”:

  • “Pay As You Throw” charging for waste collections;
  • a levy on all single-use carrier bags;
  • establishing a network of drinking water fountains;
  • introducing a food waste hierarchy into law; and
  • setting local authority reuse targets.

The measures illustrate the potential for wider benefits, especially positive social impacts that can result from waste prevention. In addition to reducing waste, the five measures proposed in the wish-list would bring about:

  • improvements to local environmental quality from reduced littering;
  • reduced levels of plastic litter entering the marine environment;
  • increased resilience to future heatwaves;
  • reduced food poverty impacts; and
  • improved wellbeing for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Eunomia has completed several pieces of work evaluating waste prevention measures, including a comparative study for Bruxelles Environment. The company also recently launched a waste prevention toolkit for local authorities, to help them assess the likely impact of measures they could adopt.

Senior Consultant Chris Sherrington, who has managed much of Eunomia’s recent work on waste prevention, said,

“Any successful waste prevention programme will need to contain ideas that can capture the public’s imagination. The ideas put forward in Eunomia’s ‘wish-list’ are intended to make waste prevention ‘visible’ and tangible, in a way that targets that talk about gradual, small percentage decreases in waste simply cannot.”

He added:

“Waste prevention has many benefits, and few downsides. The forthcoming waste prevention programme offers a significant opportunity for the government to advance resource efficiency and achieve important social and economic gains. We hope that the government decides to seize it.”

 

Photo: Brixton People’s Kitchen