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Consistency is key for EPR regimes

Julieta Cuneo

With expectations running high around the Government’s upcoming resources and waste strategy, every opportunity is a good one for a lively debate on areas that are thought to be the focus of new regimes and policy updates.

The All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) held a seminar entitled ‘Key Principles for Extended Producer Responsi­bility (EPR): maximising impact within the resources and waste strategy’ in West­minster. The seminar saw a variety of speakers discuss the issue from the points of view of industry, compliance and the waste management sector.

forthcoming waste strategy

forthcoming waste strategy

Chaired by Policy Connect’s chief executive Jonathan Shaw, the expert panel included techUK’s Susanne Baker and Nigel Harvey from Recolight presenting the manufacturers and producers’ point of views.

On the other hand, WRAP’s Claire Shrewsbury, Ecosurety’s Robbie Staniforth and Suez’s Stuart Hayward-Higham offered the audience insights and recommendations on the current and future of EPR.

Hearing such a variety of voices strongly agreeing on the need for any upcoming EPR regime to be UK-wide was a powerful reminder that, even if there are indeed issues that work best when legislated by the devolved administrations, broader issues that affect both the industry and the environ­ment need a clear overarching view.

This would help to establish common inter-border prac­tices that can work towards tackling crime, fraud and unfair competition.

Together with consistency, the need for a straightforward approach that would make it easier for manufacturers, retailers and users to under­stand their responsibilities and comply with the regulations was repeatedly brought up.

It is clear that EPR regimes will play a significant role in the strategy. Delegates acknowledged that the perspec­tive of a ‘cohesive plan’ that sets a clear direction for the future will be much welcomed.

But until the strategy is out – and for quite sometime after – conversations about EPR regimes, and the shape and form they should have in order to ensure a system that works for all in the best possible way, will continue.

The need for clear targets to be based on strong data; the application of a set of design criteria aimed at strengthen­ing the circular economy; and the problem of non-compli­ance through online market­places were some further points raised which will set the basis for the next APSRG con­versation.

Julieta Cuneo is manager of sustainability at Policy Connect on harmonisation of regimes

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