Trade associations write to Environment Secretary over complex business waste EPR proposals

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Jacob Hayler
ESA executive director Jacob Hayler

Thirteen trade associations have sent a letter to Environment Secretary George Eustice over complex business waste proposals included in the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) consultation.

Coordinated by the Environmental Services Association (ESA), the letter asks Defra to consider new options for its proposals for the future collection and funding of packaging recycling from businesses, and that the complex proposals could create unintended consequences including higher costs for consumers.

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ESA executive director Jacob Hayler said: “Our sector remains hugely supportive of the ambition of Defra’s waste reforms under the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS). Maximising the capture of recyclable material not just from households, but businesses too, is essential for the Government to hit its 65% recycling target by 2035, and the proposed new Extended Producer Responsibility regime will help fund the infrastructure and services needed to achieve this. 

“At least some of the cost of this new regime will be passed through from producers to consumers – perhaps adding £100 to their annual shopping bills – so it’s important that any additional cost directly drives recycling performance outcomes and not administration. That is why we, alongside the many organisations which countersigned our open letter to the Secretary of State today, are concerned that Defra’s current set of options around EPR payments are overly complex and may drive undue costs or other undesirable outcomes. 

“To simplify things and drive performance, not paperwork, we recommend extending local authority waste services to micro-businesses that create household-like waste in the short term, and to establish a specific work-stream to investigate and design more simple reforms that extend to business waste producers more widely.

“Designing a fair, transparent and robust regime for EPR payments to businesses is one of the most challenging aspects of the RWS reforms, but we welcome the opportunity to work with government to design a scheme that works for producers, businesses, consumers and the environment.”

Alongside the ESA, the letter was signed by Alupro, British Printing Industries Federation, British Printing Industries Federation – cartons, British Printing Industries Federation – Labels, British Retail Consortium, Confederation of Paper Industries, Food and Drink Federation, Food Service Packaging Association, Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment, Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association, Packaging Federation and The Recycling Association.

The consultation is open until this Friday 4 June. To respond to the consultation, visit here https://consult.defra.gov.uk/extended-producer-responsibility/extended-producer-responsibility-for-packaging/consultation/

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