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House of Commons Hansard
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31 July 1997
Volume 299
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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what plans he has to introduce a waste minimisation strategy for his Department; [11547]

(2) if he will list the amount, and proportion, of paper recycled by his Department in each of the last five years; [11549]

(3) if he will make a statement on existing targets set to minimise waste within his Department. [11548]

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In 1996, in response to the White Paper "A Strategy for Sustainable Waste Management", we commissioned consultants to propose a waste minimisation strategy. Before then, there were no statistics available. Our consultants estimated that in 1996 this Department produced around 3,900 tons of solid waste per annum; 2,280 came from our London sites and 1,620 from our Hanslope Park site near Milton Keynes. Of the total, around 2,900 tons went ultimately to landfill. The balance, around 1,000 tons from the London sites, was incinerated by Westminster city council and the heat recovered for power generation.Our current aim for central London by recycling, mainly paper, is to reduce by the year 2000 the amount of solid waste sent for landfill by 400 tons per annum, equivalent to a 33 per cent. reduction. Elements of this strategy were already in place in 1996 whereby white paper and toner cartridges were recycled.At our Hanslope Park site, we are aiming for a reduction of 300 tons on the same time scale, representing a 20 per cent. reduction. At Hanslope Park, where we have a dispatch and packing operation, we introduced a recycling arrangement, whereby incoming cardboard packing material is shredded for reuse as an alternative to polystyrene products. We estimate that the financial savings from not dumping the cardboard as landfill, and not having to buy as much polystyrene packing materials, will meet the cost of the shredding equipment within 18 months. This is in addition to significantly reducing the amount of material sent to landfill.The long-term aim of our waste minimisation strategy is to reduce by the year 2000 the proportion of waste going to landfill to 60 per cent. of the 1996 figure.