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Policy Update: Overview of the changes to the waste and resources landscape

With the resources and waste landscape changing over the coming years, we give you an overview of some of the largest changes in the policy landscape over the past months.

With the resources and waste landscape changing over the coming years, and the Environment Bill affecting many areas of sustainability across packaging and WEEE and beyond, we give you an overview of some of the largest changes in policy.


Closure of Resources and Waste consultations

The much anticipated second round of consultations on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Deposit Return System (DRS) and Consistency in Collections have all closed, with the staggered release of the Consistency in Collections consultation released after EPR and DRS.

The industry will now have to wait until the responses are released for a clearer picture of how this will impact the industry and move the UK towards the ambitious plans that have been set out.

The initial feedback from stakeholders throughout the consultation was concern over the proposed timeline and the lack of clarity around the initial transition period suggested to take place in 2023.


Environment Bill

The Environment Bill is back in the houses of parliament after several delays, initially having the first reading in the House of Commons in January 2020, it now looks to pass through the House of Lords to the final stages in the coming months.

The Environment Bill sets out the legislation that will guide the 25-Year Environment Plan, working towards the commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Environment Bill sets out:
– creating a new governance framework for the environment
– a new direction for resources and waste management
– improving air quality
– securing our water services
– enhancing our green spaces
– updating laws on chemicals (REACH)

The Treasury has confirmed the Environment Bill will be amended to require major infrastructure projects in England to provide a net gain in biodiversity and wildlife.


Right to repair comes into force

Known as ‘right to repair’ laws, the new requirements mandate manufacturers to make spare parts for electrical appliances available within two years of all model launches, and then for between seven and 10 years after the model is discontinued, depending on the type of product.

Products will not need to be under warranty for accessing spare parts and repair information. However, in some cases, parts will only be made available to tradespeople who are qualified to give repair services, for health and safety reasons.

Ready availability of parts is expected to move producers to increasing the overall commitment to sustainable lifestyles for their consumers and supposed to extend the lifecycle of electronic products, preventing unnecessary e-waste from ending up in landfills.


Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan

Following delays, the Government has released the Transport Decarbonisation Plan which covers road, rail, shipping and flights, but excludes international shipping and aviation.

As the UK’s highest emitting sector, the plan outlines the Government’s approach to the timings and technologies utilised to decarbonising domestic transport.

Some of the key takeaways from the plan are:
– Confirmed ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030.
– UK will introduce petrol with up to 10% ethanol (E10) blend as standard petrol in September 2021.
– Banning the sale of new diesel and petrol HGVs and buses.
– Creating a net-zero rail network by 2050.
– Launching a “Jet Zero” consultation, committing the aviation sector to net-zero by 2050.
– Delivery of £2bn over the next five years into cycling and walking infrastructure with the aim that half of all journeys in towns and cities will be cycled or walked by 2030.
Read the plan here.


UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources”.

A draft plan has been published and notes that biodiversity loss will need to be halted by 2030 and a net-positive impact delivered thereafter. The draft plan targets a tenfold reduction in extinction rates and a halving of the risk of species extinctions by 2030.

Outlined in the plan are several policy “milestones”. On closing the financing gap for nature, for example, there is a commitment to progressively delivering at least $700bn in additional financing annually by 2030. Finance will come from governments and the private sector. Further targets will then be developed for the 2030s.

There are additionally 21 “action-oriented targets”, concerning specific policy moves, and overarching policy recommendations.


National Food Strategy released

The report, led by Henry Dimbleby, highlighted the global food system as the second-biggest contributor to climate change, after the energy industry.

The report outlines what measures should be taken to mitigate the potential threat to future food security as a result of potential climate change issues such as extreme weather events.

Recommendations include:
– Helping farmers transition to more sustainable farming methods.
– Dividing land equally between high intensity farming, environment-friendly low-intensity agriculture and nature reserves.
– Setting a target to reduce the nation’s meat consumption by 30% over 10 years.

Prepare for the changes ahead

We can help you to prepare your business for the changes ahead in packaging and WEEE legislation. Our team proactively engages with industry and policy decision makers to enable us to represent our members’ interests and understand the issues that will affect their businesses.

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