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Anti-Waste Programme

Volume 977: debated on Wednesday 30 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the future of the national anti-waste programme.

:The Government are considering the future of the national anti-waste programme. In the meantime, the staff of the national anti-waste programme unit are carrying on with normal activities.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. Is he aware of the success of the glass and textile recycling schemes, the encouraging signs in industries such as the aluminium industry and the response from British housewives? Is it not about time that we got behind this programme, instead of letting it drift, as happened under the previous Government, to show that the Conservative Government are concerned about the prevention of waste?

I very much share my hon. Friend's view, and I am now initiating a series of discussions, both inside my Department and, I hope, outside with those objectives very much in mind.

:Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the efforts of local authorities with regard to the collection of waste paper, bearing in mind the volume of imports of waste paper from the Continent?

The difficulty is that in many areas there is no economic payoff with regard to the recycling of waste paper. That makes it very difficult to encourage local authorities to take it on as an additional burden upon their ratepayers. I do not want to appear to be dismissive or negative. Like all of my predecessors, I am concerned to help in any way, either by research projects, the dissemination of information or by encouragement, within the confines of what we can afford, to pursue the objective of using waste most effectively and of protecting the environment to the greatest possible extent.