The UK’s upcoming strategy for recycling and resource efficiency is expected to stimulate stronger markets for secondary materials, including more recycling by businesses, when it is published later this year.
Comments from the resource minister Therese Coffey and others in the past few days have indicated that preparation of the Government’s resource and waste strategy is in the final stages. The release date will be after the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s next Budget because it is expected to include taxation measures to tackle single-use plastics.
Coffey told a Parliamentary hearing that the strategy was ‘pretty comprehensive’. One element is reform of the packaging recovery note (PRN) system the UK uses as part of its producer responsibility compliance scheme.
She said: ‘The benefit of what we’re trying to do with PRN reform is to stimulate the secondary markets, which will help councils in the consideration of what they do with waste. At the moment the only secondary market that works really well is the one for PET’.
The minister said new policies would be aiming to boost the recycling of commercial waste. ‘We certainly want to see businesses themselves [doing] more and we shall certainly be pushing that. We are conscious more needs to be done and that will included specifically in the strategy’.
Coffey also anticipated there would be an increase in domestic processing and said there was no wish to ‘massively’ increase incineration because there was already sufficient capacity.
The new strategy was a constant theme at the RWM event in Birmingham on September 12-13, the biggest event in the UK recycling sector. A leading Labour MP, Mary Creagh, gave a keynote speech and said she understood the strategy would have five ‘pillars’ with the following aims:
- The UK to be a zero avoidable waste economy by 2050
- Avoidable plastic waste phased out by 2042
- New targets for waste and recycling
- Stopping food waste going to landfill by 2030
- Reforming the PRN scheme
- An official of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Paul Bradley, told another panel that it was an ‘intense time’ at his department with teams preparing consultation documents and impact assessments for the strategy.
‘Regardless of the relationship with the EU, ministers are very ambitious,’ said Bradley. They want to change the system and deliver the best outcomes. We need to bear in mind future obligations but they want to go beyond that in some areas.’
Suez recycling and recovery UK launched a report at RWM looking at the concept of ‘extended producer responsibility’ which is an element of the European Union’s Circular Economy package.
It proposes 10 key points to guide the design of schemes under which ‘a fair and equitable producer responsibility regime could be most effectively implemented’.
Suez’s Unpackaging Extended Producer Responsibility was based on more than 25 workshops it conducted with organisations that included the UK and devolved governments, local authorities, Coca-Cola, Marks & Spencer and Iceland.
Would you like to share any interesting developments or article ideas with us? Don't hesitate to contact us.