This consultation opened on the 24th March 2021, and will close on the 4th June 2021. It discusses the proposals to create a scheme that encourages producers to design their packaging to be more easily recycled, by placing ownership on the producer to pay for the management of the packaging when it becomes a waste. This is a dramatic reform from the current system in place, that requires an organisation to handle 50 tonnes of packaging materials/packaging and have a turnover of greater than £2 million, before being required to report quantities of packaging waste, and based on the targets set, pay charges if required.
By placing the cost of managing the packaging back on to the producer, it should encourage the producer to consider if the packaging they use is really necessary, and/or if it could be eliminated or reduced. Interestingly, this also means those producers whose packaging is often found within litter, must now pay the cost of managing this litter E.g. via street cleansing. Hence, views are currently being sought on if take back facilities should be provided by the sellers of filled paper cups that are designed for single use.
In addition to this, the consultation aims to introduce obligations such as reuse targets for packaging, in order to encourage the use of reusable and refillable models.
As part of the proposal producers will also have to pay fees. These fees will be higher if using non-recyclable packaging, than if using packaging that is recyclable, thereby encouraging producers to use recyclable materials in their packaging.
Requirements to ensure the recycling capabilities of the packaging is clearly labelled have also been proposed. Other proposals include reducing the current de-minimis threshold, and making online marketplaces who are responsible for placing filled packaging on the UK market, comply to this scheme.
The Extended Producer Responsibility is proposed to be rolled out in a phased approach, starting in 2023.
This consultation is requesting businesses, organisations, retailers, online marketplaces, importers and compliance schemes who use packaging, as well as members of the public to provide their thoughts and views on how this scheme should work, to ensure the scheme implemented is effective. Since this includes just about everyone, get involved and have your say on this interesting proposal to drastically change how packaging waste is managing in the UK!
If you want to get involved further, a consultation on the topic of a deposit return scheme is also open.