The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has called for producers to pay the cost to manage their own products at end of life by strengthening producer responsibility.
This call was made at a fringe event that ESA sponsored called ‘Plastic Fantastic? Exploring the current debate on plastic waste’, which took place at the Conservative Party Conference on plastic pollution.
The event was hosted by think thank Bright Blue, and saw Defra Minister Thérèse Coffey, ESA, FCC, WWF and Asda discuss and debate the extent of the plastic problem, the solutions and whether the Government is on the right track.
ESA executive director Jacob Hayler said: “In many ways plastic is an innovative material that provides a cost-effective way to preserve shelf-life and prevent food waste. However, as Blue Planet 2 so powerfully highlighted, it all too often ends up in the ocean, killing and maiming wildlife. At the same time, the UK is only recycling around 45% of plastic packaging. This is because by the time it gets to us, it’s often too late; the plastic has not been designed for recycling, or has caused confusion for the consumer about which bin it should go in.
From this, he added that ESA is calling for producers to pay the cost of managing their products at the end of life by improving producer responsibility and that this will provide the funding for the domestic recycling infrastructure but will also make producers design their products for recyclability.
He said: “This must be complemented by measures to require producers to use recycled content in their products, without which, there is no point collecting materials for recycling in the first place. ESA looks forward to the publication of Defra’s Resources and Waste Strategy which we believe will set out an ambitious vision for producer responsibility.”