The UK waste industry has responded to the UK Government consultations to overhaul the waste system, reduce plastic pollution and move the UK towards a circular economy.
INCPEN chief executive Paul Vanston said that the consultations on packaging reforms, home recycling collection and a deposit return scheme (DRS) “mark a brilliant opportunity to turbo boost the nation’s recycling performance”.
He added: “The whole value chain needs to work together to make recycling easier for citizens at home and on-the-go. We also need to make sure big increases in funding from producers go to the parts of the recycling system where those funds can add the most value. Substantially increasing the quantity and quality of recyclates is imperative.”
“Ministers have demonstrated they’ve listened intently to all the sectors involved in making and recycling packaging. They have followed through with consultations that press the reset button on a vastly more coherent system that thrusts UK recycling performance forward.”
SUEZ managing director David Palmer-Jones believes that achieving a more harmonised system of collections should result from agreeing full net cost recovery producer responsibility schemes to introduce a more consistent set of recyclable materials that can be harvested from all households and businesses.
He added: “Deposit return schemes are a useful component of a circular economy, but to make a lasting impact they must sit within a wider Extended Producer Responsibility regime which drives change at the design stage for products and which properly funds recycling systems.
“Well-designed deposit return schemes, underpinned by producer responsibility, should consign a throw-away culture to the bin. Suez believes that producers should bear the full cost of what they place onto the market which may include the cost of operating a deposit return scheme, alongside existing council recycling systems.”
LARAC has welcomed the consultations but has said it is disappointed with the consistency consultation as it is framed around resident confusion, when it believes that material type is the issue that residents find difficult. It said that this needs to be addressed more urgently than the collection part of the process.
However, it said it is pleased that DRS is being considered on a UK-wide basis and that it recognised that more work is needed to understand the impacts of council kerbside systems.
LARAC chair Carole Taylor said: “I want to thank DEFRA for listening to our concerns regarding the length of the consultations and acting upon them. DEFRA have shown a willingness to engage with us and our members throughout the process so far and a 12-week window underlines that commitment to continue the productive conversation we have been having.
“I would urge all local authorities to take the time to properly consider these hugely important consultations and respond meaningfully to them. The outputs from these consultations could shape local authority waste services for the next twenty years so we need to get them right and working for local residents.”
WRAP has welcomed the consultations believing that they have the “potential to transform our use of resources and waste for the better”.
WRAP chief executive Marcus Gover said: “WRAP has worked closely with Defra and with colleagues across the sector to ensure that these proposals are underpinned by the best evidence available. We look forward to taking a full part in the coming debate, and encourage everyone with an interest to read and respond to the consultations over the next twelve weeks, so that the Government can implement a set of policy measures that are ambitious, transformative, and will deliver in practice.”