Government opens consultation on waste

Government opens consultation on waste

This week the government launched a series of consultations to overhaul the current waste system.

Building on commitments made in the Resources and Waste Strategy, the government sets out proposals covering four main points:

  1. Consistent recycling collections
  2. Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
  3. Extended producer responsibility for packaging
  4. Plastic Packaging Tax

The first is about encouraging more recycling across households and businesses by making less confusing. The measures include the requirement for local authorities to collect a core set of dry recyclable materials, to introduce separate food waste collections and free garden waste collections. For businesses, measures include segregating their dry recycling from residual waste so that it can be collected, and for food producing businesses to have arrangements for separate food waste collection.

The second shares the aim of increasing recycling rates but also leading a reduction in littering via the introduction of a DRS. This would mean that "a deposit [would be] added to the price of drinks... which would be redeemed when consumers return their empty drinks containers to designated return points."

The third is about packaging producers paying the full net cost of processing their waste. This would include incentivising the recyclability of packaging and would use the money raised through the system to fund better collections, recycling infrastructure, and so on.

The fourth is about introducing a world-leading tax on plastic packaging which does not meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content.​ In doing so, the government would shift the economic incentives involved in the production of more sustainable plastic packaging, encouraging greater use of recycled plastic and helping to reduce plastic waste.

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The changes will make up a key part of the government’s upcoming Environment Bill, to be introduced early in the second session of Parliament.