Government waste and resource management strategy adds to developing sustainability agenda


  • General news

14 February 2019


Government waste and resource management strategy adds to developing sustainability agenda.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has unveiled a comprehensive and detailed overhaul of England’s system of waste management which seeks to position the UK as a more circular, low carbon economy and a world leader in resource efficiency.

Meanwhile, the Institute’s latest Sustainability Survey (2018) highlights that environmental impact is an increasingly important element of the workplace and facilities management arena and will be one of the key challenges the profession will face in the future. The survey also found that environmental policy is the single most frequent sustainability criterion on FM tender documents, whilst 94% of businesses stated that environmental considerations are the most important element in delivering social value as part of FM delivery. 

IWFM has reviewed the Government’s 146-page waste and resource strategy document to assess what aspects of the plan are likely to impact most on workplace and FM professionals. These include:

  • Eliminating avoidable business, industrial, chemical and household waste by 2030
  • Developing the Business in the Community’s Circular Office initiative to change the way workplaces are designed, used and operated to eliminate waste and create more efficient, resilient spaces which contribute to the long-term sustainability of businesses, the environment and the wider economy
  • Increasing resource efficiency and minimising waste in the built environment sector through developments such as digitalisation, off-site manufacturing and innovative construction materials and techniques
  • Extending mandatory corporate reporting on resource usage to include reuse, repair and recycling; moving from weight-based to impact-based targets
  • Ensuring, if necessary through legislation, that businesses present recycling and food waste separately from residual waste for collection and make information available on what is recycled
  • Reducing food surplus and waste through dedicated strategies for schools, hospitals and other public sector institutions, with mandatory targets and annual reporting 
  • A deposit return scheme for single-use drinks containers and measures to reduce the environmental impacts of disposable cups
  • More sustainable government procurement to achieve the best whole life value for money with social value, including environmental considerations, at the heart of policy 
  • Improving the transportation, management and description of waste by making businesses more accountable for their waste when it is passed along the resource chain
  • Regulations forcing those responsible for producing environmentally damaging materials to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their waste

This new strategy will clearly increase scrutiny of every organisation’s waste management practices. IWFM will further consider the practical and legal implications for workplace and facilities management professionals and will provide an update through our Good Practice Guide on Recycling and Waste Management in early 2019. In the food waste area we are building relationships with the Waste and Resources Action Programme to strengthen best practice so that we can better support our members meeting waste management requirements.