§ Mr. Win Griffiths
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are being taken to meet the target of recycling 25 per cent. of all household waste by the end of the century; and if he will make a statement outlining the present percentage of household waste that is recycled and by how much this has changed since 1990.199W
§ Mr. Maclean
The Government are taking a wide range of measures to promote recycling, many of which are outlined in the first year report on the Environment White Paper "This Common Inheritance" (Cm. 1655).
In particular, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides a legislative framework to encourage recycling. Waste collection authorities now have a duty to prepare recycling plans. Draft plans should be submitted to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State by 1 August. To help authorities in England to implement their recycling strategies there is a programme of supplementary credit approvals worth £60 million over four years. I announced allocations for £15 million in 1992–93 on 27 April. Authorities and other recycling collectors may also claim recycling credits from waste disposal authorities for household waste recycling operations; the credits are equivalent to the net savings of disposal costs and will help to finance the running costs of recycling projects.
The Advisory Committee on Business arid the Environment has recommended a number of measures to increase recycling, including raising landfill prices further and the introduction of capital allowances on recycling equipment. We are currently conducting studies on landfill pricing and the use of economic instruments to promote the recovery of waste.
The Government have identified a need for better waste statistics. We have therefore established a national household waste analysis project, the first results from which are expected later this year. We are also working with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy to revise its statistical returns on waste collection and disposal. A new survey will start in the middle of 1992. Until the results of those initiatives are available, precise information about the proportion of household waste which is recycled will not be available. Studies indicate that overall no more than 5 per cent. of household waste is recycled. The advances since 1990 in, for example, plastics and aluminium recycling have yet to be shown in the national statistics.