The government has launched a raft of consultations into how it will achieve the ambitions set out in its Resources and Waste strategy published last year. The four consultations propose options that could dramatically reform the UK’s waste and recycling system.
Summary of consultations
1) Reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system.
This consultation seeks views on measures to reduce the amount of unnecessary and difficult to recycle packaging and increase the amount of packaging that can and is recycled, through reforms to the packaging producer responsibility regulations. The proposals also recommend that the full net costs of managing packaging waste are placed on those businesses who use packaging and who are best placed to influence its design. This is consistent with the polluter pays principle and the concept of extended producer responsibility.
2) Deposit return scheme (DRS).
Michael Gove has previously suggested that a deposit return system would be in place in England by 2020. The government says that responses to this consultation will help them consider the merits of introducing one. The aim is to ensure that, should such a system be introduced, it will be easy for consumers to return drinks containers, leading to increased recycling rates and a reduction in littering.
3) Plastics packaging tax.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the plastics packaging tax in his Budget last autumn and HM Treasury has launched a consultation on how a tax on plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled material would work. A previous call for evidence on this subject was launched by HM Treasury as part of the 2018 Spring Statement, and received the highest level of response to any government consultation ever. The new consultation will now seek input on how exactly the tax will work; which packaging should be in scope of the tax, how to assess recycled content, and which businesses will be liable for the tax.
4) Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections.
This consultation is seeking views on developing a consistent set of materials to be collected for recycling by all local authorities in England – in a bid to reduce confusion for householders and increase the country’s recycling rate, which has been stagnating at around 44 to 45 per cent for the past five years.
Have your say
All four consultations are open for 12 weeks, allowing the industry and interested parties to respond until 13 May 2019.
Representing our member’s interests
We will continue to represent the interests of our packaging and compliance members, through our discussions with the government and our involvement in the packaging scheme forum (PSF). Our team is working through each of the consultations to consider how the proposals may affect producers, how we work with our members and the benefits to our environment. This will then help us to formulate our response to the consultation. We have also urged our members to let us know their views so that we can consider these within our response.
We have known for some time that significant changes to the producer responsibility system are inevitable and have taken measures to support our members to future-proof their packaging.
Keep up to date
We will continue to keep our members updated as the consultations progress. Subscribe to our regular newsletter, Clearview, to get the latest news as well as monthly updates on the PRN market.
Comply with Clarity
Companies that handle packaging in the UK are subject to the Packaging Regulations. We work with these businesses, helping them to reduce their impact on the environment and ensuring they comply with current regulations. Contact our team on 0845 129 7177 to find out how we can help your business. Find out more about our Beyond Compliance services on our website.