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Government Launches Resources & Waste Strategy

Businesses and manufacturers will pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste under the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, launched on Tuesday 18 December 2018.

Unveiled by Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, the government’s long-awaited strategy for resource and waste embraces leading EU policies on the circular economy and sets out a raft of proposals to overhaul England’s waste systems, with measures set out until 2030 or beyond to 2050.

In what is said to be the first comprehensive update in more than a decade, the strategy puts a legal onus on those responsible for producing environmentally damaging waste to take greater responsibility and “foot the bill”.

Producers will also be expected to take more responsibility for items that can be harder or costly to recycle including cars, electrical goods, and batteries. This will be led by the launch of a consultation on reform of the packaging regulations early next year, with a view to having an extended producer responsibility regime in place by early 2023.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said of the measures: “Our strategy sets out how we will go further and faster, to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Together we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource.

“We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste.”

He added that he believes the plan will cement our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, “leaving our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

David Honcoop, Managing Director at Clarity Environmental, said Clarity welcomed the ambitious proposals but will closely follow the next moves: “The strategy sets out some highly ambitious steps for reforming producer responsibility and we are pleased to see there are clear incentives within the strategy for businesses to produce less waste. We also welcome the objectives and responsibilities that have been set out for extended producer responsibility schemes, which help to support long-term planning, investment, and development.

“However, the government will now need to turn these ambitions into action, and it is the details to follow that really matter.

“We are pleased that businesses will get to have their say. It is important that all areas of the sector take part in shaping the future details so that we encourage well thought-out solutions that achieve the best environmental and economic outcomes for all. We will continue to represent our packaging and WEEE scheme members interests as discussions progress.”

“It has never been more important for businesses to ensure they are green enough to grow, and as a compliance scheme operator we believe we have a responsibility to help guide our members through this changing, and challenging, climate. We are delighted to be in a position to provide additional support to help our members achieve more sustainable packaging and manufacturing solutions that are better for business and the environment.”

– Ensure producers pay the full net costs of disposal or recycling of packaging they place on the market by extending producer responsibility, increasing from the 10 per cent paid under the current system.

– Review producer responsibility schemes for items that can be harder or costly to recycle including cars, electrical goods, batteries and explore extending it to textiles, fishing gear, vehicle tyres, certain materials from construction and demolition, and bulky waste such as mattresses, furniture and carpets.

– Introduce a consistent set of recyclable materials collected from all households and businesses, and consistent labelling on packaging so consumers know what they can recycle, to drive-up recycling rates.

– Ensure weekly collections of food waste. This will be subject to consultation which will also consider free garden waste collections for households with gardens, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.

– Introduce a deposit return scheme, subject to consultation, to increase the recycling of single-use drinks containers including bottles, cans, and disposable cups filled at the point of sale.

– Explore mandatory guarantees and extended warranties on products, to encourage manufacturers to design products that last longer and drive up the levels of repair and re-use.

– Introduce annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses.

– Clamp-down on illegal movements of waste at home and abroad by introducing compulsory electronic tracking of waste, and tougher penalties for rogue waste crime operators if they mislabel their waste to dodge tax rules.

The strategy sits alongside the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, the recently published Bioeconomy Strategy, and the Clean Growth Strategy.

We will actively seek feedback from our packaging and WEEE compliance members as the relevant consultations are launched to ensure we represent our members interests and help to get the best outcomes for all. Keep up to date with industry news, and the latest from Clarity Environmental, by subscribing to our Clearview newsletter.

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