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Defra drops statutory collection proposals for agricultural waste plastics

Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Government have decided not to proceed with a statutory collection scheme for non-packaging agricultural plastics (NPAP), such as silage wrap, fleece plant jackets and mulch film.

Following a consultation on a possible producer responsibility scheme for NPAP, which closed in February, Defra revealed “ministers have decided no Government intervention is needed, a view supported by the majority of responses to the consultation, as the scheme would cover only a small waste stream and the costs on administrative burden on businesses of any scheme could be disproportionate to the environmental benefits that would be achieved”.

Around 85,000 tonnes of waste NPAP made up from silage wrap, fleece plant jackets, mulch film, polytunnel and horticultural covers, is produced in the UK each year. It is made more difficult to recycle because of soil contamination and prior to the Agricultural Waste Regulations in 2006, 80% of agricultural plastic waste products were disposed of by burning or burying on farms.

The consultation on a producer responsibility scheme looked at whether stakeholders felt such a scheme was required and if so, what options were preferred. The options given were:

no Government intervention was needed;

that a statutory producer responsibility on-farm collection scheme would be introduced;

or an introduction of a statutory producer responsibility scheme with free-at-the-point-of-use collection points.

From the 41 responses, the majority (28) of businesses, trade associations and local authorities did not want to see Government intervention.


Click here to view the consultation document Consultation on a Producer Responsibility Scheme for Waste NPAP

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