The extended producer responsibility (EPR) and deposit return scheme (DRS) consultations give us the chance to build an optimal system that reduces waste, increases recycling and delivers financially back into that very system. What is fundamentally clear is the need for consistency, clarity and collaboration.
Due to the magnitude of these ambitious proposals, it is imperative that we work together with sector-wide shared interest when responding to the consultations.
The schemes must be consistent locally, regionally and nationally – across the whole of the UK if not further afield; they must also align with those on the continent. It is also important that the schemes complement one another.
The schemes must also be clear and simple enough for everyone to use in their day-to-day lives. We know from experience with the current system that we cannot change all behaviour. We will still see members of the public not separating their recycling correctly. We need to do all we can to make it easy for them to succeed in efforts they make with their recycling.
We urge the Government to make both schemes as financially transparent as possible because, ultimately, it is the consumer who will be paying. Monies raised must go directly back into the system so that local authorities can continue to support recycling and keep moving towards our shared targets. In this way, the system will be recognised as an effective means of plugging other funding gaps.
An unbiased response from industry leaders at the coal face of the debate is vital in making sure that we all play our part in delivering a revitalised waste management system that works best for all.
Julie Fourcade is head of external affairs at FCC Environment