A blueprint for waste net zero
5 Dec 2022
Read Biffa's report on how to shift the dial towards Net Zero by creating investment, bringing down the carbon impact of waste, and helping the UK meet its ambitious target.
What is the challenge we face?The UK still produces too much waste and we don’t recycle enough of it. Too many materials are not designed for recyclability and collections systems are often inconsistent and unclear; as a result, recycling levels have stalled.
In short, there is a gap between the UK’s 2035 resource and waste management targets and where we are now. The recycling capacity of the UK does not meet the demand, so we remain dependent on export markets as an end destination for materials.
We must acknowledge that our adoption of the waste hierarchy has had certain unintended consequences, meaning our sector’s contribution to decarbonisation is now stalling too. We must consider the carbon hierarchy alongside the waste hierarchy.
What can be done to fix it?The good news is that the UK has a once in a generation opportunity to unlock £18 billion in investment that will create more than 16,000 jobs and 43 million tonnes of circular raw materials annually, while contributing a saving of circa 7.1 million tonnes of CO2e.
This can be achieved using existing, proven technologies and processes, and that there is a vibrant, competitive, skilled sector with the access to the capital to make this happen.
The timing is perfect as society supports this drive and the governments of the UK are already committed to implementing policies to help make this happen. However, the clock is ticking and sensible policies need to be implemented without delay. Decisive action will create the right incentives and provide the certainty the sector needs to attract investment.
The only way to achieve this is to work together. We have a holistic view of the challenge due to our experience with suppliers, customers, stakeholders, policy makers, and regulators. Download our report to find out what needs to happen to enable the pathway to a low carbon future for waste.