Feeds

Lords call for variable VAT to cut landfill

Stop picking on householders

Seven Steps to Software Security

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has said the government should do more to encourage businesses to recycle and reduce waste and take the focus away from householders.

Recent attempts to reduce domestic waste by weighing dustbins and banning carrier bags should be scrapped in favour of changing the VAT regime so British firms do more to tackle waste. But British "throwaway" society also needs to be addressed, the Lords said.

Witnesses told the committee that consumers were often confused about the overall environmental impact of products, for instance focussing on packaging which usually makes up only a small part of the total enviromental impact of a product.

In its sixth report the committee accepted that the landfill tax is useful to counter business waste, but also recommends changes to VAT to encourage more sustainable products.

There is an acceptance that creating sustainable products can be against the interests of a business based on selling replacements. It suggests continued work with the EC to promote "eco-labels"; this would help consumers who have been distracted by heavy promotion of recycling instead of waste reduction.

Businesses should see waste reduction as an opportunity - Enviroment Agency figures from 2003 showed UK firms could save between £2bn and £2.9bn if they followed best practises for cutting waste.

The Lords said they were disappointed at recent funding cuts for organisations which support businesses in reducing waste, such as Envirowise and the Market Transformation Programme. It called for part of landfill tax revenue to be ring-fenced for use in reducing waste.

The government should also lead by example and improve training of its own procurement officers, so they look at the lifetime costs of the products they buy.

The committee also called for "choice editing" - essentially removing less environmentally-friendly options from shops. This is already in use for certain products - you can only buy "low-energy" lightbulbs for example - but the Lords support its wider use. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.