Following the Resources & Waste Strategy for England launch at Veolia Southwark in December 2018, the Government has reported back on the four consultations which will shape the future of the sector:
Reforming Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (Defra)
Improving collection consistency in England (Defra)
Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (Defra)
Creating a world-leading plastic packaging tax (HM Treasury)
The Government’s high-level summary of responses in effect represents a recycling revolution and signals a clear direction of travel for businesses. We welcome your views on these matters and look forward to discussing the policy specifics with you to ensure any new recycling system works for your business and supports your sustainability performance.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
The reform aims to reward sustainable design whilst shifting the costs of managing packaging waste from local authorities to businesses.
Impact on businesses: High
- Defra gives the go-ahead for full net cost recovery and will most likely include litter costs.
- EPR will apply to household and household-like packaging but not C&I.
- Defra will look closer at a competitive compliance scheme (model 1) and a single scheme administrator approach (model 2) in addition to a hybrid of the two.
- Modulated fees were the most popular approach to incentivizing design for recyclability. Defra proposes to go ahead with a mandatory labeling scheme whereby producers must label their packaging as recyclable or not recyclable. This may also include percentage of recycled content.
- Defra plans to explore recycling targets for disposable cups.
- Potential inclusion of additional ‘packaging-type’ items within the system.
- Packaging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030 may be revised upwards.
- Designation of a single point of compliance remains unclear.
- De minimis threshold for obligated producers to be agreed.
Standardising the core set of materials to be collected for recycling across England will reduce confusion and boost recycling. Households and businesses will be affected.
Impact on businesses: Medium
- Businesses expected to recycle more and in a consistent fashion.
- Dry recyclables to be segregated from residual: paper and card; plastic bottles; plastic pots, tubs and trays; steel and aluminium (mixed). Separate glass.
- Introducing a separate food waste collection for businesses.
- Businesses to report and capture data on waste and recycling performance.
- Explore greater collaboration and sharing of services to reduce costs.
Exemptions may be considered for separate collections through a Technically, Environmentally and Economically Practical (TEEP) assessment.
De minimis for SMEs to be determined.
Food waste collection threshold and definition of food waste producing companies to be confirmed.
Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
The introduction of a DRS scheme is expected to boost recycling rates and reduce littering.
Impact on businesses: Medium/Low
- An ‘all in’ DRS to be introduced in England to increase recycling rates.
- Scheme to include PET and HDPE plastic bottles; steel and aluminium cans; glass bottles up to 3L and encapsulating most drink categories.
- System to be run by an independent management organisation.
- Amount of deposit paid upon the purchase of a drink to be determined.
- Unclear whether milk and plant based drinks should be included in a DRS.
- Many stakeholders proposed deferring DRS until the full impact of EPR is understood.
- More work to be undertaken on preventing double counting for producers of drinks containers.
The tax aims to encourage greater use of recycled plastic and help to tackle plastic waste, as well as stimulating investment in domestic plastic reprocessing.
Impact on businesses: Medium
- Introduction of UK-wide Plastic Packaging Tax in 2022.
- The tax to be imposed on businesses that produce or import plastic packaging with less than a defined* percentage of recycled content, charged domestically at the point of production.
- Tax to be charged at a flat rate per tonne, sufficient to encourage investment in recycling facilities and technical innovation.
- *Level of recycled content to be defined. Inclusion of filled imports in scope of the tax to reduce avoidance and evasion.
- Exemptions from the tax on grounds of technical, regulatory or supply limitations.
- Inclusion of bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics in scope of the tax.
- Extension of joint and several liability to other businesses in the supply chain.