The government has published proposals for two major packaging and collection reforms that will boost recycling by incentivising consumers to recycle more while powers in the Environment Bill could make producers more responsible for the packaging they place on the market and use.
The following two consultations have been launched for a period of 10 weeks.
A Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers. This will ensure that billions more drinks bottles and cans are recycled and reused and not condemned to landfill or littered in our communities. With consumers paying a small deposit when purchasing an in-scope drinks container, they will be incentivised to take their empty bottle or can to a return point to get their deposit back. This will ensure that we increase recycling, capture high-quality material for reprocessing and reduce the number of bottles and cans littered in our streets and countryside.
Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging. This will see producers meeting the full net cost of managing the packaging that they place on the market once it becomes waste. Higher fees will be paid by those producers who use packaging that is more difficult to recycle or reuse. Producers will need to meet higher recycling targets and the government is proposing that obligated producers will be incentivised to reduce litter and keep our communities clean.
The third major reform will see the introduction of consistent recycling collections for all households and businesses in England, which will also be going out to consultation shortly.
MP for North East Bedfordshire said:
Through our world-leading Environment Bill we are transforming the way we deal with our waste. Tackling plastic pollution lies at the heart of these effort and we have already taken steps to ban microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, cut supermarket sales of single-use plastic bags by 95% and prohibit the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds
These reforms will help the UK build back greener from the pandemic and boost our global leadership in tackling climate change and plastic pollution. As hosts of COP26 this year, President of the G7 and a key player in the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UK is leading the international climate change agenda.
The packaging changes are being developed on a UK-wide basis, while the Deposit Return Scheme will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A separate scheme is already under way in Scotland, and administrations will work to ensure compatibility between the schemes. The consultations close on 4 June.