On June 23rd, Britain voted to leave the EU, a decision known as the Brexit. While the decision is one that has divided the country, it is important to examine each section of UK industry that it will effect – one of which is waste disposal and recycling. It may seem odd that this particular industry would be in any way affected by the Brexit, but there are several things that may or will change as a result. Of course, there are positive and negative changes that can come as a result of this.
There are a few advantages for the waste management industry that could come as a result of the Brexit. One of which is that there would be less red tape when it comes to restrictions and regulations. We will be able to have more stringent regulations when it comes to environmental laws, recycling and the management of our waste. This could prove better than the EU legislation that is currently in place, as we could have the freedom to further improve these aspects.
Another potential advantage is that the citizens of the UK may have a say in how we deal with our waste, as well as the processes that we use to deal with it. Unlike in the EU, we have the opportunity to vote with regards to our waste management and recycling methods, as well as complete control over these processes. It has the potential to allow us to increase our positive impact on the environment.
One of the main disadvantages to our waste management and recycling industries as a result of the Brexit, is that while we may be able to create a better impact on the environment, we also have the power to make it worse. Without the strict EU regulations, we have the ability to decrease recycling and green waste management, thus reversing the superb work we have done (and are still achieving) to help the planet.
The EU has had a massively positive effect on our beaches, streets, and the way we deal with waste. Those who produce electrical items, including batteries, have strict rules to follow and fees to pay in order to correctly manage the waste they produce. Without the EU, these rules are no longer in place. While the government could reinstate them (or something similar to them), it can be difficult waiting and relying on them to replace these lost rules.
There is a risk that we could start to lean more towards landfills as a way of getting rid of waste. Before the regulations set by the EU, the UK was starting to work on producing a larger number of landfills to deal with our waste. This has a hugely negative impact on the environment, but also has the potential to affect jobs in the waste industry due to a potential future lack of larger and more complex facilities. There could be a renewed risk of revisiting these plans and solutions.
Whether you agree with the Brexit or not, we need to consider the effect it will have on our industries. Financially, the Brexit will have a relatively minimal impact on the waste and recycling systems, but physically they could change. While we have the possibility of creating our own legislation that can have a more positive impact on the environment, we are also at risk of reversing this. We can only hope that the government maintains these regulations, and perhaps even improves them, so that we can continue to work to help our planet.