Reprocessing industry trade body, The Resource Association, has highlighted a need to ‘continue to develop markets’ for recycled materials, in its response to the government’s Resources and Waste Strategy consultations.
And, the Association has further outlined its desire to see councils move towards a collection system involving the separate collection of paper from other recyclables – in line with the ‘Our Paper’ campaign launched earlier this year.
Publishing its responses this week to the consultations on Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging, a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers, consistency in household collections and a tax on plastic packaging, the Association welcomed the ‘depth of commitment’ from government on policy around recycling.
The Association said it was pleased to see “recognition of the need for high-quality recycling” within the Strategy, but added that some of the proposals leave questions over how this will be achieved.
Commenting on the Strategy, Ray Georgeson, chief executive, said: “It is consistently high-quality feedstock for our modern reprocessing and manufacturing industries that will be the trigger for further investments in infrastructure.
“Without this, doubts will always remain about the ability of the UK collection and sorting systems to deliver what is needed to sustain our manufacturing base, avoid reliance on ‘off-shoring’ to febrile export markets and build a more genuinely local and regional circular economy.”
Mr Georgeson stated that both “convenience and consistency” can be achieved through well-designed collection systems – both dual and multi-stream, with paper and card always collected separately from other materials.
And, the Association has stressed the “essential” need for much greater emphasis on recycling market development if higher targets are to be achieve and dependency on exports reduced.
“The core objective of the Plastics Packaging Tax is therefore welcomed, but we feel more can be done to ingrain the use of recycled content into EPR reforms,” the Association said.
The Resource Association also gave its support for a hybrid model of EPR report and commended the Ecosurety and Valpak hybrid model for further examination by government.
“The lack of obvious cohesion and full understanding of the possible interactions within the four proposed policy reforms is a serious gap in our understanding.”Ray Georgeson
One area of concern raised by the Association was over the combined impact of the policy reforms from the four consultations. The Association said that the fact that an overarching impact assessment has not been carried out remains “a real concern”.
“The lack of obvious cohesion and full understanding of the possible interactions within the four proposed policy reforms is a serious gap in our understanding,” Mr Georgeson said.
This includes the impact of a deposit return scheme on local authority collections. As a result, the Resource Association says this is “a reform too far in the current suite of policy reforms” and urges the Government to prioritise EPR reform and consistency in a twin-track approach.