DEFRA begins survey of commercial waste

The survey is the first in England for eight years

The environment department (DEFRA) has started its first survey of commercial and industrial (C&I) waste in England for eight years.1

The last survey was done in 2002/03 by the Environment Agency (ENDS Report 370, pp 4-5). It showed 44% of C&I waste was reused or recycled, with 40% sent to landfill.

DEFRA had repeatedly refused to conduct follow-up surveys due to the high cost (ENDS Report 401, pp 62-63), but it backed down last year after mounting criticism (ENDS Report 413, p 45).

It needs the data to set appropriate recycling targets for businesses and to identify waste treatment infrastructure requirements.

The survey began in June and is being carried out by consultants Jacobs Engineering and Halcrow. They will survey 6,000 businesses in England. The 2002/03 survey only involved 4,500 firms.

Participants will be visited by a surveyor who will ask them how much waste they produced in 2009 and how they disposed of it.

Jacobs has 120,000 businesses to contact so expects to get enough respondents.

DEFRA will publish provisional results in October and a full analysis in December.

The London Waste and Recycling Board and various bodies in the south-west are helping to finance the survey, so extra detail on C&I waste in these areas will be released.

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