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Waste Management

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether the Waste and Resources Action Programme Real Nappy Initiative aimed to divert 35,000 tonnes of waste (a) in each year from 2003 to 2006 and (b) in total; (78531)

(2) how much disposable nappy waste has been diverted by the Waste and Resources Action Programme's Real Nappy Initiative; and what its targets are for such diversion.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Real Nappy initiative target was to convert an additional 155,000 households to real nappy use by April 2006, and in the process divert 35,000 tonnes per annum of disposable nappy waste from landfill.

WRAP reports annually on its overall progress in meeting targets, including work under the Real Nappy initiative. It is scheduled to report on its achievements for the business plan period up to 2006 soon. At the outset of the programme, 91 per cent. of expectant parents said they intended to use disposable nappies. Work done for the Environment Agency suggested the figure may be higher at 94 per cent. WRAP intends to survey parents again at the end of the programme and to establish the change in intended behaviour. An estimate of the diversion will be made and published by WRAP at that time taking account of the survey and other quantitative evidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what controls are in place to monitor waste intended for recycling to ensure that it is not re-routed to a landfill site. (79913)

There is no evidence of large-scale or repeated landfilling of recyclables, but material collected for recycling is occasionally sent to landfill if it is badly contaminated.

It is not in the interest of local authorities to send recyclable material to landfill because of the requirement to meet statutory recycling targets for household waste, tough landfill diversion targets for municipal waste, and the need to avoid the increasing cost of landfill.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he will report on local authority pilot projects funded by his Department on waste minimisation incentives. (78534)

The results of the household incentive pilot schemes will be available in the next few weeks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects to announce whether he will introduce variable charges for waste production. (79892)

We have no current plans to introduce charging for household waste. The Government are considering what further steps are needed to tackle household waste as part of the review of the Waste Strategy, which will be published later this year. We are also looking at the spending pressures local authorities face, with regard to waste management, ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Variable charging is one of a number of tools that could be used to encourage waste minimisation and recycling of household waste. Local authorities already have powers to run incentive schemes or require householders to separate their waste for recycling. Recent research shows that at least half of English local authorities have run, or are running, some form of incentive scheme and some, such as Barnet, require householders to separate their recycling.

Many countries, including some in the European Union, have introduced successful household waste charging schemes, achieving reductions in waste arisings and increases in the separation of waste for recycling.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will introduce national compulsory recycling schemes. (79779)

DEFRA has no plans to introduce a national compulsory recycling scheme. It is up to each local authority to decide how to go about meeting the challenging recycling targets in their local area.

Compulsory recycling will not be suitable for all local authorities, but DEFRA will watch those that try such schemes with interest. As part of the review of the Waste Strategy, we are continuing to investigate options for influencing householder behaviour, with particular emphasis on positive incentives to help authorities encourage householders to reduce, re-use and recycle their waste.