Response to the Climate Change Committee Report

On 1 May the UK became the first country in the world to declare a “climate and environmental emergency”.  Then, on 2 May the Climate Change Committee published a statement that the UK can end its contribution to global warming within 30 years, by setting new targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

The Small Action Big Impact (SABI) campaign we’ve been running all this year is designed especially help everyone, not just our customers, take their own small steps to improving the environment. But ending global warming in 30 years would require massive steps to be taken.

We wholeheartedly support the aims and ambitions of the government announcements on climate change, and will do everything we can to help deliver them. Yes, the steps are massive, but we can and must take them. Our company mission ‘local recycling, global responsibility’ says it all.

Obviously there are things we can do as a business, such as reviewing our electricity supply to renewable sources or looking at electric vehicles for our fleet and we will be addressing these over the coming years.

Our main focus will continue to be helping our customers, and our country, achieve its climate change goals. As you can see from the chart below, waste is one the eight areas contributing to global warming.

The Climate Change Committee suggests that the most effective way to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from waste is to significantly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to ban all biodegradable material from going to it. This is something we can work towards right now. The cleaner waste streams are, the better quality the recyclate.  We know that for recycling to happen it must meet three criteria: collectability, sortability and commerciality. Clean or well segregated waste streams help increase sortabililty and commerciality.

To end all biodegradable materials in landfill we need a massive increase in the number and types of commercial compost options and recycling solutions like anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in this country, and the collection and transport systems to support them.

Cawleys were one of the first company in the UK to offer a commercial waste collection to AD in the UK when we started working for Waitrose back in 2008. We were also early adopters of coffee cup recycling and are pioneering recycling lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles. We believe in applying technology with good business practices to end waste and carbon emissions and are always looking for new options for our clients.

The Climate Change Committee report said government must set the direction and provide the urgency, and that we need “clear, stable and well-designed policies across the emitting sectors of the economy.” I agree that the pace of change need to be faster, but I think all of us at Cawleys understand that practicalities on the ground will have to be rapidly addressed too. Whatever developments do happen, you can be sure we will be there to deliver solutions to make it work for the business and our clients.


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