A call from WRAP, Incpen and Defra’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP) to radically change the existing producer responsibility regime has gained the support of environment secretary Michael Gove.
The three bodies have been engaged in a comprehensive programme of discussions with stakeholders from across the UK packaging supply chain for the last two months.
In April they sent a letter to Gove setting our recommendations for reform, including achieving better packaging design and that local authorities collect a “core set of materials” from households, such as bottles, pots, tubs, trays and film.
The letter also called for the creation of an approved list of what is deemed to be recyclable packaging, and for fees be set up to “penalise non-recyclability”.
Gove said in response: “Your recommendations are timely and will be valuable as we develop policy options that complement and build on the action already taken by businesses, such as through the UK Plastics Pact.”
He added that he was committed to “accelerating the move” to uniform recycling collections.
Gove said a consultation on extended producer responsibility would be issued later in the year, alongside proposals on a deposit return scheme and packaging recycling targets.
WRAP chief executive Marcus Gover said: “The secretary of state’s response is very encouraging and I am particularly pleased to see his commitment to accelerating the move to uniform recycling collections, as this supports a key area of work for WRAP.
“The need for Government policy to underpin the commitments made by business will be key to us achieving the ambitious goals we have laid out in The UK Plastics Pact.”
Paul Vanston, chief executive Incpen, said that after years of debate, the UK has moved closer to seeing a consistent collection system for used packaging.
“The breadth and depth of engagement in the last six months, facilitated by WRAP, Incpen and the ACP, led to a universally supported message that funds raised by the value chain need to be used to solve problems within it.
ACP chairman Phil Conran added: “We welcome the secretary of state’s very positive response that will help to focus the direction of travel in the work the ACP is doing with Defra in developing options for change.”
A version of this article first appeared in MRW’s sister title, Packaging News