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Plans for manufacturers to pay more for their packaging waste

The government is seeking views on a new producer responsibility system for packaging, which will see manufacturers pay the full cost for recycling and disposing the packaging they put on the market.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations in the UK obligate businesses with a turnover of more than £2 million and who handle or produce at least 50 tonnes of packaging per annum to contribute to the cost of recovering the material at end-of-life.

 

However, the current system only recovers around 10 per cent of the costs of managing the UK’s packaging waste, with the rest of the bill footed by the taxpayer. The government plans to reform the system to recover the full net costs costs from producers, with the aim of incentivising businesses to think carefully about using less and easier-to-recycle packaging.

 

The government also intends to explore new EPR systems for other items that can be harder or costly to recycle, such as textiles, furniture, construction materials, vehicle tyres and fishing gear.

 

As well as packaging, there are already EPR systems in place for cars, electrical goods and batteries.

 

In a separate consultation, the government is seeking views on its approach to introducing a new tax on the production and import of plastic packaging with less than 30 per cent recycled content.

 

The plans were first announced in the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, released in December 2018.

 

Announcing the consultations, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

 

“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.”

 

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