Changes to transform the waste and resources sector move a step closer.
Landmark reforms that will boost recycling, tackle plastic pollution and reduce litter have taken a step forward this week as ministers from across the UK unveil the latest proposals to overhaul the waste and resources sector.
Powers in the Government’s landmark Environment Bill could be used to make manufacturers more responsible for the packaging they produce and incentivise consumers to recycle more.
A Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers: consumers will be incentivised to take their empty drinks containers to return points hosted by retailers. Every year across the UK, consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, nine billion drinks cans and five billion glass bottles. The scheme would cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a separate scheme already under development in Scotland.
Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging: manufacturers will pay the full costs of managing and recycling their packaging waste, with higher fees being levied if packaging is harder to reuse or recycle. In 2019, approximately 11.7 million tonnes of packaging was placed on the UK market. We must ensure that more of this recyclable or reusable. The scheme is being developed on a UK-wide basis.
The third of our major reforms, will see the introduction of consistent recycling collections for all households and businesses in England. This will also be going out to consultation shortly.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
Together this action will help the UK build back better and greener from the pandemic, and boost our global leadership in tackling climate change and plastic pollution, as hosts of major climate summit COP26 this year, President of the G7 and a key player in the UN Biodiversity Conference this autumn (CBD COP15).
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.
Scotland’s Environment and Climate Change Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said:
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment for the Welsh Government, said:
Edwin Poots, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, said: