LGA adviser expects ‘further delays’ to EPR

An adviser to the Local Government Association (LGA) says it looks “increasingly likely” there will be further delays to the implementation of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging.

Earlier this year, the government pushed back the implementation date of EPR for packaging to 2024

The warning about the delay came in the adviser’s report on waste and recycling topics which went before a meeting of the LGA’s environment, economy, housing and transport board on 29 September.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is “pushing” to have a role on the governance arrangements for the scheme administrator, the report said.

And, the association is also beginning to work with councils and the government on the new burdens costs and funding considerations for proposed food waste collections.

There is now “less certainty” about what decisions the government will make about the deposit return scheme

However, the report suggested the LGA should expect delays to EPR. It adds there is now “less certainty” about what decisions the government will make about the deposit return scheme and elements of the proposals for consistency in household and business recycling in England, such as garden waste collection.

It is also “possible” that Ranil Jayawardena, the new secretary of state for the department for environment, food and rural Affairs (Defra), “may want to revisit some of the objectives the government were previously working towards,” the report suggests.

Report author Eamon Lally, principal policy adviser at the LGA, writes: “The delays and uncertainties are causing a range of issues for councils seeking to develop long-term strategies.”

EPR

Though it initially planned roll out EPR by 2023, earlier this year the government pushed back the implementation date to 2024 (see letsrecycle.com story).

EPR is intended to move the full cost of dealing with packaging waste from councils to producers. Councils will receive funds via EPR to pay for the costs of recycling and disposal.

In August, the Food and Drink Federation, whose members include large producers such as Coca-Cola and Unilever, called on ministers to pause the plans further (see letsrecycle.com story). The trade association described it as an “easy win” for consumers already facing higher costs.

However, later in the month, packaging data specialist Ecoveritas claimed rowing back on EPR would be “reckless and irresponsible” (see letsrecycle.com story).

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