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Brexit: A Waste Management Review – Six Months On

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    Posted on 16th December 2016 by Hintons

    Possibly one of the biggest shake ups to Britain’s economy – for good or for bad – occurred earlier this year, and now six months on, Britain is still reeling from the decision to leave the EU. With concerns – which Brexiters dubbed ‘fearmongering’ – lodged that leaving the EU will negatively impact our economy, we’re taking a look at just how EU has affected Britain, with a specific focus on how it has impacted the waste management sector.

    How EU law affects waste management

    As a member of the European Union, the UK followed the EU’s legal frameworks for waste management for over 40 years. This means that when the EU passed laws, such as imposing recycling targets, we had to adapt our waste processes to ensure we abided by the laws. This included minimising our impact on the environment by reducing the amount of waste we sent to landfills. By choosing to leave the EU, we will no longer be tied to these laws, meaning that we will have more freedom to choose how we deal with our waste – but that doesn’t mean we should undo all of the good work that our membership to the EU has done! Reducing waste and doing our best for the environment should be a factor in our waste disposal methods, regardless of which direction we head in after our independence from the EU has been established.

    Uncertainty for waste exports

    One big concern that is rocking the waste management industry is what will happen to the waste we need to export. In 2014, 2.37 million tonnes of refuse derived fuel (RDF) was exported to EU members, and it is estimated that in 2015, the figure rose to 3.3 million tonnes.

    The UK does not have enough facilities to handle the safe treatment of such a huge amount of waste, and cutting our ties to the EU members who happily take on our RDF could be catastrophic if this deal was to break down.

    While we have two years to negotiate terms with the EU and set up new trade deals, it is a scary statistic that 50% of the UK’s total exports are to EU members, and the removal of such a connection could be catastrophic for many trades, not just those in waste management.

    One option is to look outside of the EU for a new trade deal, but regulating these trades would be much more difficult. China and India are viable options as the UK currently has a recycling trade ongoing with these countries.

    While a new deal is being negotiated, it is important that environmental concerns continue to be a top priority for the sake of both the Earth and our own health.

    The waste management industry could be precarious during negotiations, and investments to the industry could temporarily halt as the future remains uncertain. This makes it all the more important for consumers to use a professional, reliable and environmentally-concerned waste management service to ensure standards of service don’t slip; our team here at Hinton’s Waste, for example.

    Predicted changes to waste management

    Waste management legislation is likely to undergo review, and the outcome of this action is pure speculation at this moment. On one hand, the systems and laws we currently have in place are proven to work, which makes it seems a good idea to carry on how we are. However, as the result of Brexit showed, a lot of the Great British public want change more than security, so it is likely that some slight changes to legislation will take place.

    Possible areas for reform include:

    • REACH
    • Land use planning
    • Noise
    • Soil pollution
    • Flooding
    • Environmental crime
    • Environmental justice

    For now, the Waste Management sector is continuing with a ‘business as usual’ attitude, as changes will be rolled out slowly. Changes will likely be minimal, as the UK’s values towards recycling and waste management underpin a lot of the EU’s own attitudes towards waste management. However, until new negotiations are made regarding our waste exports, the long term future of Britain’s waste remains unclear.

    For now, remain confident that the waste management sector is secure and go about your  services as normal, choosing a reputable services provider.

    For high quality and reliable domestic and commercial waste management in Croydon and Sutton, look no further than Hinton’s Waste. We’re well-experienced in all elements of waste management, including:

    For more information on any of our services, get in touch today us online; we’ll be happy to help with your enquiry.


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