Waste management consultations launched

The UK government has today launched a 12-week consultation exploring how to overhaul the country’s waste management system and cut plastic pollution.


A “world-leading tax” on plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled content is to be consulted on, along with a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drink containers.

Households could also receive separate weekly food waste collections, with recycling made easier through the introduction of a consistent set of materials for collection in England.

This comes after the government unveiled its long-awaited Resources and Waste Strategy at the end of last year, which proposed that businesses pay the full cost of recycling or disposing their packaging waste.

Environment secretary, Michael Gove, said: “We will introduce a world-leading tax, make producers foot the bill for handling their packaging waste, and end the confusion over household recycling.
“We are committed to cementing our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, so we can be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

For the plastic tax, the government is seeking views on what packaging should be included, how best to assess recycled content, and which businesses would be liable.

It is also consulting on whether a DRS for 2022 should be restricted to ‘on-the-go’ drink containers that are less than 750ml in size, or an ‘all-in’ model that targets bottles and cans irrespective of size.

While the consultation for recycling collections explores what materials should be included, such as plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, glass packaging, paper and card, and metal packaging.

The government confirmed that the costs of managing packaging plastic waste would be funded by businesses through a packaging extended producer responsibility (EPR) system.

This will see industry pay higher fees if their packaging is harder to reuse or recycle, will encourage sustainable design, and is forecast to raise between £800m and £1bn a year for recycling and disposal.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, said: “This action, coupled with the other measures we are bringing in, will help drive up recycling, cut the amount of new plastic being used and protect our environment for future generations.”

Image credit | iStock 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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