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Business secretary told to prioritise secondary materials

Ministers have been urged to consider extended producer responsibility (EPR) and tax breaks on secondary materials by a group of leading waste industry figures.

In a response to the Government’s industrial strategy green paper, the RWM Ambassadors, a group comprising business, public sector, academia and community group representatives, have called for a series of measures to boost the circular economy.

An open letter to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that policies to back resource efficiency, ‘green’ procurement and recycling infrastructure were needed to support UK manufacturers.

The letter called on the Government to step in when secondary material markets “fail or do not yet drive themselves”, and cited recent concerns about the prices of recycled plastics.

Suggested interventions included EPR, a levy on raw materials, variable taxation on secondary materials and mandatory recycled content in new products.

It added that many of the suggested measures were already being discussed as part of the EU circular economy package.

The letter also called for a shake-up of planning law to allow businesses that could benefit from renewable feedstock sources to “co-locate” with recyclers.

RWM chairman Barry Dennis said: “It must be recognised that the way we manage our valuable energy, water, materials and land resources is integral our productivity goals, and to driving our One Planet Living agenda.

“Resource productivity should be afforded the same priority under this strategy as labour productivity – without it, clean growth is unlikely.”

The RWM Ambassadors invited business secretary Greg Clark and the BEIS industrial strategy team to attend RWM in September.

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