Britain urged to adopt \"zero waste\" policies
The UK must rescue itself from being the \"waste slob\" of Europe and adopt \"zero waste\" as its guiding policy, according to a report published by Greenpeace. The group is urging all government agencies to follow the lead set by a single English local authority that has introduced a zero waste objective.
As Greenpeace admits, zero waste is not literally achievable. However, by focusing attention on the life-cycle of products, changing product design to minimise waste and finding new uses for the waste that is generated, the group maintains, it \"can smash barriers to solving the waste crisis\".
Zero waste grew out of the total quality management concept first developed by Japanese companies and is still mainly found in the corporate arena. Greenpeace claims Toyota, Honda, Du Pont, Hewlett Packard and NEC are among firms that have \"begun to adopt zero waste targets\".
In the last five years, zero waste has also begun to emerge in municipal waste management, notably in Australia, New Zealand and California. Greenpeace applauds Bath and north-east Somerset council for becoming the first British local authority to adopt zero waste goals.
Report author Robin Murray proposes four key policies to begin driving a transition to zero waste. Separate organic waste collection should be provided throughout the UK by 2006, he argues, plus multi-material kerbside collection for dry recyclables. \"Disposal-oriented\" civic amenity sites should be replaced by a network of reuse
and recycling centres. And mechanical-biological treatment should be adopted to deal with residual waste before disposal.
Incineration absolutely does not fit in with zero waste policies, the report argues. Building on its already vigorous campaign against an expected increase in incineration capacity in Britain over the next few years, Greenpeace says this would be \"a missed oppportunity\" to harness \"valuable markets in recycled materials and eco-design\".
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