United Kingdom – In the event of the UK leaving the EU after this summer’s membership referendum, companies producing battery, packaging or electrical/electronic waste will still be required to accept their responsibilities as producers and provide evidence of those obligations, UK resource efficiency specialist Ecosurety stresses. As such, the in-out decision will have ‘little impact’ on the waste and recycling industries.
‘After significant analysis, we conclude there will be no noticeable long-term difference in the waste and recycling industry, whether the UK stays in or decides to get out of the EU this summer,’ says David Burton, Ecosurety’s policy director. Concerns about a ‘shock exit’ are ‘nothing more than a red herring if nothing actually changes on the ground’, he insists.
Non-EU countries such as Norway and Switzerland have simply elected to adopt EU producer responsibility legislation, Burton points out. It is highly unlikely that the UK government will want to create new waste laws, he argues, given its ‘desire to keep red tape to a minimum’.
Burton believes a ‘Brexit’ could mean smaller UK manufacturers are affected by additional compliance costs when sending finished goods to the EU. But he adds: ‘The bigger issue is the gathering momentum of the circular economy across the globe, because the UK is nowhere near ready for it, and no referendum is going to fix that.’