22 July 2020 by James Langley

Policy consultations set for new year

Formal second stage consultations on three areas of proposed waste and recycling legislation look set to take place in early 2021.

As part of the Resources and Waste strategy the government is currently holding meetings to discuss its plans for a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks packaging in England, extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging and consistency in recycling collections.

Rebecca Pow is recycling minister

Responses to an initial round of consultations were published in July 2019 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Now the government has indicated that the consistency measure will be consulted in early 2021 and, because of delays caused by the pandemic, consultations on the other two measures are likely then too.

Confirmation on the 2021 plan for the second consistency consultation came in parliamentary question response. Replying to a question from Labour MP Olivia Blake on Monday (20 July), recycling minister Rebecca Pow said: “The government will be publishing a second consultation in 2021 which will seek views on further details of consistency in recycling.

“A further impact assessment will be published alongside it and will include updated assessments of costs for these measures.”

Mrs Pow said the government was committed to covering the costs of any additional burdens local authorities faced as a result of being required to alter their collections.

She said the core materials requiring measures for greater consistency were plastic, glass, paper and card, metal, food and garden waste from households.

Hefty improvement

Paul Vanston is chief executive of the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN). He told letsrecycle.com: “I welcome the ministerial confirmation that the next wave of formal consultations will be published in early 2021.

Paul Vanston is chief executive of INCPEN

“As a raft of current national systems relating to ‘valuing resources’ need hefty improvement, we are actively supporting all four UK governments to ensure delays in the policy development processes are avoided wherever possible.

“It’s especially important the UK-wide consultation on extended producer responsibility comes out by end of March as that’s the start of the pre-election period for the Scottish and Welsh Parliamentary elections next May.

“Missing the early 2021 window may set things back by many months, and that’s not desirable.”

Lobbying

Lobbying has taken place within the recycling sector to delay the introduction of a DRS scheme until the EPR is in place (see letsrecycle.com story). Advocates of a delay reason that setting up the DRS system would be costly, and that the EPR system with stronger targets for recycling (as well as the Treasury’s plastic tax proposal) would mean more bottles and cans would be collected.

In March the Scottish parliament approved the introduction of a DRS, to be delivered in July 2022 (see letsrecycle.com story). Any delay in England and Wales would also allow for an assessment of the Scottish scheme.

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