We have known for a while now that Britain is leaving the EU. As we edge closer to Brexit, many have looked at how this will affect immigration, the economy, and various other issues. Yet, not many have looked at how it will affect Britain’s green policies.
With that in mind, here is an overview of how Britain’s recycling could change over the coming years.
What EU recycling targets does the UK have to meet?
Currently, every EU member state must hit a target of recycling 50 per cent of its household waste by 2020. The EU is also considering imposing targets requiring the UK and most other EU nations to recycle 65 per cent of their rubbish by 2030.
The UK Government has previously expressed concerns about the proposed 2030 targets.
Are These Targets Being Hit?
The short answer is no.
Recycling rates in England have increased from just over 10 per cent at the turn of the millennium, to around 44 per cent now.
However, as we recently wrote, recycling rates have stagnated in recent years and even dropped in England this year. Poorly performing councils are expected to have to step up their efforts to hit the targets.
What Would Brexit Mean?
In Wales and Scotland, Brexit would be unlikely to make a big difference because the countries have already set themselves even more challenging targets.
In England, however, leaving the EU would give ministers leeway to set more lenient targets. And whilst we can hope that his would not be the case, it is a genuine fear.
David Palmer-Jones, head of recycling business Suez, argues: “There is a clear risk that the current EU-led policy drives towards creating a circular economy within the UK will stall or even move back a step.”
On the other hand, the Government has committed to the 50 per cent target, arguing it was important in a “world in which such resources are under pressure”.
According to the House of Commons library: “The benefits of effective waste management to both the environment and the economy may mean that UK withdrawal would not lead to a substantial change in approach, but it would reduce the impetus to meet legislative targets within clear timeframes and remove the threat of legal challenge for any failure.”
This proves to us that it is important that we hold our politicians to account. By leaving the EU, England would have the wiggle room to fall back on recycling. As individuals and as businesses, it is imperative that we do not.
If you would like to talk to someone at Tier 1 about how to responsibly dispose of your old IT, then give us a call on 0161 777 1000.