Brexit has divided country and we can all agree that road to Brexit has been challenging and difficult. As we near the end of that road, industries are assessing its potential impact. So how will Brexit impact the recycling industry?
There have been warnings of no-deal scenarios where EU laws do not apply, making it impossible to export waste and we have seen reports of Government officials preparing to deal with “putrefying stockpiles” of rubbish.
On the other hand we could view Brexit as a trigger to develop a world class recycling industry. Indeed, I argue that Brexit must be seen as an opportunity for the UK to address its recycling problems and become a leader in the industry, across the EU and world.
Of course in the past we have not dealt with it on our own soil. Around 3-4 million tonnes goes across the Channel to the EU. China traditionally took 494,000 tons of the UK’s plastic and 1.4 million tons of recovered paper per year, but now much of the UK’s waste is now being exported to other countries such as Turkey and Malaysia.
Brexit will surely awaken the UK to the actuality of its waste issues and make us look at how we can better manage them.
The current problems in Britain’s plastics recycling industry have seen it being accused of leaking pollution into oceans and massively exaggerating waste figures. The industry is facing an investigation by the Environment Agency over widespread fraud.
After March 29 th when Britain leaves the EU, regardless of a deal or no-deal, people still have to eat and drink – we will all still be producing waste and as a country we need to find a way to deal with it transparently and on our own soil.
The UK Government have been ahead in planning how Britain can manage its own waste more efficiently and recently published a first stage of its Resources and Waste Strategy aimed at outlining how we will preserve material resources by minimising waste and promoting resource efficiency.
Here at Advanced Sustainable Developments (ASD), we welcome this strategy and hope to input on their consultation. We urge the Government to focus on promoting a circular economy, one which ASD is striving for.
We aim to produce the UK’s first product agnostic recycling exchange that truly contributes to a complete circular economy model. We provide a complete end to end solution that engages every person in the process with full accountability. We achieve this as we work along the entire journey of a plastic bottle – from the distribution centre, to the stores, in the consumers hand, the disposable and ultimately the return of this material to our own processing facilities right here in the UK. Indeed ASD is addressing the macro and micro challenges facing the UK recycling industry and a circular economy is the answer to Britain’s recycling woes and one that other countries have been leading the way in.
If we look to the rest of Europe we see a landscape with enormous innovation. Speaking with my peers, particularly in Germany, they do not understand why the UK is failing to efficiently recycle its own waste. After Brexit the UK will no longer be able to hide behind the EU with it’s waste problems – this is a chance for change.