A residual waste infrastructure review argues that the level of treatment facilities – both planned and in operation – could limit recycling for local authority collections in England to 60% of target by 2020.
The investigation, published by research consultancy Eunomia, claims this limit will be in place for as long as the infrastructure remains operational and well beyond 2020 unless contracts can be renegotiated.
The report is based on local authorities' annual Waste Data Flow returns to Defra and Eunomia's facilities database, which holds information on all residual treatment facilities in the UK – both operating and under development. Data is analysed on both a national and regional basis, to provide a detailed picture of where insufficient or excess capacity is anticipated.
Adam Baddeley, the report's lead author, said: "It's worrying that we are already in danger of limiting how far we can go with recycling in England. If we genuinely aspire to develop a circular economy then we must shift the focus of investment."