How Will Brexit Affect Waste Removal?
Britain has taken the bold step of leaving the EU – a move which has already caused shockwaves in a variety of industries. The most noticeable of these has been the widespread economic impact and uncertainty. While it will take at least two years to formally leave the EU we need to start thinking about how industries will be affected. Waste removal and waste management are two such areas which will feel the impact of Brexit.
The biggest impact the EU has on waste and recycling currently is through the setting of targets. The European Commission mandates that by 2020 all states should be recycling 50% of their waste. These targets are expected to rise over the next few years. A binding target of 65% by 2030 is expected by most industry experts.
The UK already lags behind most of Europe on recycling rates. Currently just 45% of UK waste is recycled. Greece and Portugal are the only two countries recycling a smaller proportion of waste. Many in the industry worry that there will be no increased target and progress towards the current target will be slowed. However, the longevity of council contracts means that repercussions won’t be felt for a while yet.
Waste electrical and electronic equipment recycling is stringently managed in order to protect the environment. These regulations like most other environmental legislation come from the European Union. There is no suggestion that when Britain eventually leaves it will dump this programme. However, much of the funding for technical guidance and research surrounding the WEEE programme comes from Europe. This suggests that it will be harder to find new ways of recycling electrical products.
Clean Air and Renewable Energy
As part of efforts to meet pollution targets set by the EU, there has been a lot of investment in renewable technology. While the air pollution targets may not stand in the future, the renewable sector is a significant part of the UK economy. It is not Brexit that will cause this to slow down, it is the limits on prices and investment. This is UK policy that has been pushed for the last year and already the number of new home renewable installations is falling. Without being forced to support this industry there is every chance it will struggle and collapse.
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