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Volume 171: debated on Wednesday 25 April 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what further steps he is taking to increase the amount of waste that is recycled.

The Environmental Protection Bill contains a range of measures which will help to bring recycling to the forefront of waste disposal strategies in the United Kingdom. These include stricter controls on waste disposal by landfill and other means which will increase their costs and make recycling more attractive, and a requirement for all waste regulation authorities to give priority to recycling in their waste disposal plans wherever it is practicable to do so. Authorities will be permitted to specify recycling as a disposal option when letting contracts for the disposal of their waste even if it may be more expensive than traditional disposal methods. All waste collection authorities will have to draw up recycling plans and they will be permitted to arrange for the recycling of all the waste that they collect unless the disposal authority has an existing recycling contract for it.A joint DTI and DOE recycling advisory group has been examining, in conjunction with the Government's Warren Spring laboratory, the market barriers that prevent recycling from accounting for a higher proportion of the domestic waste stream. The reports of this group will be used in drawing up proposals for the forthcoming White Paper on the environment.Following Royal Assent to the Environmental Protection Bill, comprehensive guidance will be given to local authorities and others on the new obligations and powers.Advice will also be given to the public to explain how they can fulfil the vital role that they will have in co-operation with local authorities to keep the recyclable part of their waste clean and fit for re-use.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will be continuing to hold discussions with manufacturing industry to encourage it to use more recycled waste in its processes and to develop the markets for the increasing quantity of recyclables that will be collected.