Suez chief points to “bright future” for waste industry

22nd November 2019 | Recycling

The chief executive of Suez Recycling and Recovery UK has said that the industry faces an “exciting future”, despite the UK potentially taking a “5%” hit on its recycling rate next year due to the European definition change. The comments came from David Palmer-Jones at the 30th Anniversary of the North East Recycling Forum (NERF), held in Durham on 19 November.

As reported by last month, the European Commission has ratified a definition change of recycling to move it “further down the line” to when recycling enters the recycling operation, rather than when it is “sent for recycling”, as is the case currently in many EU member sates as well as the UK.

Waste industry

However, Mr Palmer-Jones explained that when looking at what the next 30 years holds for the industry, while the definition change will have a more immediate effect that other factors, such as Brexit and the Resources and Waste Strategy, there is still a lot to be excited about. He said, “In the last two years there has been a positive impact through policy, and we saw with Michael Gove that he really drove civil servants in a way we have not seen for a decade. Adding in a bit around China, and also Brexit, it has meant we had a superb alignment of planets, and on 18 December [2019] we saw this strategy – it was the most meaningful bit of policy I’ve seen in 15 years.”

Mr Palmer-Jones added, “The first prediction I see when I look to the future is that we will live in a very changing world, and from the policy document along, you can see that the only constant we will have as an industry is that there will always be change.”

He remarked that the 5% predicted fall on recycling rates is “being generous” and said that despite this the UK won’t be affected as much as other member states although meting targets in the near future might be made more difficult.

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