There are significant gaps in Government policy to minimise the environmental impacts of waste that come from products, according to think tank Green Alliance.
In its recent report entitled Greener products; mapping the environmental policy drivers on products and production processes, the think tank states that the most significant gap is that current policy offers no means of setting standards for the environmental performance of products other than energy performance.
Green Alliance associate Julie Hill said: The European Union's Eco-design Directive provides a possible means to set standards for different aspects of products such as recyclability, recycled content and 'embedded' carbon, waste and water (i.e. what is used in production and is generally invisible to consumers). Over the coming six months we will be talking to our partner companies about how such standards might evolve.
Other conflicts and gaps raised in the report include:
- Lack of policy drivers bearing on commercial and industrial waste.
- Packaging waste being subject to recycling targets separately from local authority recycling targets.
- The prospects of fiscal incentives themselves are under explored.
- Tensions between the mandatory requirements of the carbon reduction commitment, which targets operational energy use and voluntary approaches such as carbon footprinting and product roadmaps, which take a more holistic approach to the product supply chain.