Press release

Responsibility deals the way forward for business waste

Working with businesses, the voluntary responsibility deals on waste will look to deliver changes that work for businesses and their customers.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Government wants to work with businesses to help them reduce their waste and increase recycling through voluntary responsibility deals, Environment Minister Lord Henley said today. Working with businesses to put in place voluntary responsibility deals on waste will remove the need for further regulation and will lead to less waste and more recycling with the added benefits of businesses saving money and helping to protect the environment.

Visiting the SITA UK plant in the North East of England to see waste being converted into energy, Lord Henley said;

“As householders we all spend a lot of time trying to do the right thing with our waste and recycling, and rightly so.”

“But it’s equally important that businesses - both large and small - do the same. Twice as much waste comes from commerce and industry as from all households put together, so it’s critical that they play their part.”

“As Secretary of State Caroline Spelman made clear last month when announcing the review of waste policy, this Government believes that businesses, like householders, should be encouraged to do the right thing, rather than tied down or penalised with excessive rules and regulations”.

Lord Henley pointed to the good work carried out under existing voluntary agreements - such as the Courtauld Commitment on grocery retail packaging and food waste - as a model for what can be achieved in the future.

Working with businesses, the voluntary responsibility deals on waste will look to deliver change that works for businesses and their customers. By encouraging competition between signatories to achieve the outcomes and stimulate growth and innovation the changes can be delivered cost effectively.

Lord Henley said that a number of sectors were under consideration for possible voluntary responsibility deals in the future, and that there would be close cooperation and active partnership with the businesses and sectors concerned in developing the deals.

“We see responsibility deals as an important part of drive towards a zero waste economy, and I hope that businesses will come forward with ideas and proposals for actions we can work together on.”


Lord Henley, Defra minister responsible for waste is currently undertaking a two day tour in the North East region and will discuss waste and recycling issues with people at the following locations - Richmondshire Council, SITA UK Energy from Waste Plant (Billingham), South Tyneside Council, Fareshare (Sunderland) and SITA UK Material Recovery Facility (West Sleekburn).

The review of waste policy, announced on 29 July will look at what policies are needed to reduce the amount of waste generated and to maximise reuse and recycling, while also considering how waste policies affect local communities, individual households and businesses, the report will report back in Spring 2011. For further information see link -

Published 16 August 2010