Responding to the news that the Government has launched a series of consultations covering food waste, plastics, and recycling, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has strongly welcomed the focus and called for tangible measures to be introduced as soon as possible.
According to the Government, the consultations launched today aim to overhaul the waste system, cut plastic pollution, and move towards a more circular economy.
The measures included in the proposals include packaging producers paying the full cost of dealing with their waste, more consistent household recycling, and a Deposit Return Scheme for cans and bottles.
The Consultation also includes a tax on plastic packaging that does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content.
The proposals will apparently make up a key part of the government’s upcoming Environment Bill, to be introduced later this year.
CIEH is strongly supportive of the announcement but called on the Government to back up proposals with tangible measures and appropriate funding to ensure it is a success.
Gary McFarlane, Northern Ireland Director at CIEH, said:
"This focus on reducing waste and boosting recycling is a very welcome step forward.
CIEH strongly supports the regular collection of Food waste in order to encourage recycling as well as ensure that other issues such as odours and pests are minimised.
We have been very vocal about the march to reduce food waste collections, highlighting very real risks such as elevated levels of fly tipping, domestic refuse burning, pest infestations, odour nuisance and fly nuisance, especially in the summer months.
The reduction in bin collection services also places an additional long-term burden on Environmental Health resources, as Environmental Health will be left dealing with pest and other nuisance-related issues.
As such, we are delighted that the Government is now properly looking in to this deteriorating situation.
Climate change and ecological and environmental degradation is reaching crisis point. These are critical public health issues. Recycling and reducing waste is imperative as part of the response needed to meet these challenges.
Examples from Germany and the Netherlands show that it might be possible for the UK to double its recycling rates with the use of payment for waste schemes, such as the reverse vending machines.
We welcome the commitment to tax the producers of plastic packaging in order to fund more recycling of these products and hope that this tax is introduced in the upcoming budget.
It is essential that the Government now provides the appropriate funding so that local authorities have the tools to deliver the new systems."
Notes to Editors
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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):
CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing almost 8,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved.
Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.