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Switch litter cost from councils to producers says ESA

The introduction of extended producer responsibility (EPR) to divert part of the cost of clearing up litter from councils to manufacturers and retailers is being advocated by the Environmental Services Association (ESA).

A policy paper is being prepared for publication in October in response to the 30 million tonnes of litter collected in the UK each year that adds up to a local authority bill of an estimated £1bn.

The ESA ‘white paper’ will consider the merits of applying EPR to aspects of UK litter to transfer some of the costs.

Jacob Hayler, executive director, said: “The introduction of EPR to help clean up the litter from Britain’s streets would save local authorities significant resources at a time when council budgets are under increasing pressure.”

He said the bill for removing commonly littered items such as chewing gum, cigarette butts and fast food packaging could pay for 33,000 nurses or for more than 300,000 pupils to attend primary school.

“Our white paper will consider the merits of manufacturers of littered items contributing to the multi-million pound clean-up costs associated with their products,” he said. “EPR would also incentivise better recyclability and, if we recycled just half of the volume littered in the UK each year, it would have an economic value of nearly £15m.”

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