Brexit risks UK “Backsliding” on recycling, report finds

4th December 2017 | Recycling

According to a new report, “A new direction for UK resource strategy after Brexit” by the think tank Green Alliance, without “ambitious new recycling targets”, progress could slip on recycling provision and lead to the reopening of landfills. The EU’s current recycling targets expire in 202, and there is no promise to replace them in the UK, it says.

The Green Alliance says this is not what people want, with 93% of people in the UK saying recycling is “personally important to them.” The report’s findings also suggest Brexit could see an increase in the use of dangerous chemicals, require millions more animal toxicity tests and “saddle people in the UK with shoddy products.”

The study was conducted on behalf of the business group, the Circular Economy Task Force, and examines environmental challenges facing the government from Brexit and assesses the risks. The government has committed to developing a resources strategy for England “that looks ahead to opportunities outside the EU”.


Green Alliance’s report sets out recommendations for the new strategy that would avoid risks created by Brexit, including negotiating to stay in REACH (the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals), continuing to co-operate on EU eco-design standards and adopting ambitious new targets for recycling and waste minimisation.

Libby Peake, senior policy adviser on resources at Green Alliance, said, “The resource policies we choose after Brexit will have a real effect on people’s lives. We’re at a crossroads – we can either improve out protections and use of resources or revert to simple waste management. The wrong decisions could harm our environment, businesses and citizens.

“But people didn’t vote to increase animal testing or to be exposed to more dangerous chemicals and shoddy products. Defra’s renewed strategy on resource is the opportunity to take the right path towards a more resource efficient future instead.”

More information available on the website below