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Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

17. What target he has set for the percentage of waste from the parliamentary estate to be recycled in 2007. (126350)

The House has set a target of 44 per cent. for recycling of waste in 2007-08. The current policy for waste recycling is to increase the target by 5 per cent. each year. The percentage of waste recycled during 2005-06 was 35.9 per cent. and the quantity of waste recycled was 800.72 tonnes.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply and I am sure that all hon. Members will welcome the success in increasing recycling in the parliamentary estate. However, does the House of Commons Commission share my concern that the total waste produced by the parliamentary estate last year actually grew by 17 per cent? Given the priorities of “reduce, then re-use, then recycle”, what steps will be taken to reduce waste overall?

I am pleased that my hon. Friend recognised the progress made on recycling, but if her point is that the actual volume of waste overall should be the greater focus of our efforts, I am sure that the current awareness campaign could broaden its scope to take that into consideration. I reassure her that the issue of paper waste from early-day motions and parliamentary questions is an issue of concern and that the Procedure Committee is currently looking further into policies on that matter.

While it is in the House’s interest to drive up rates of recycling, as the hon. Gentleman mentioned, is it not in the national interest that we drive down the recycling of waste draft policies emanating from the Opposition Front Bench, which fall apart at the first examination in the first light of day? Is it not in the national interest to minimise all that effort?

I am sure that it is indeed in the national interest to minimise the degree of waste, but whether the Procedure Committee can quite go as far in scope as the hon. Gentleman suggests, I am not too sure.