Polluter pays principle leads Resources and Waste Strategy

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
The Resources and Waste Strategy features a series of high-impact measures

Business and manufacturers will have to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of waste, says the new Resources and Waste Strategy published today.

The long-anticipated Strategy features a series of high-impact measures including calls to introduce a consistent set of dry recyclable materials collected from all households and businesses.

Extended Producer Responsibility

Nationwide collection consistency will be funded through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) which is predicted to raise £0.5bn-£1bn every year.

Producers currently pay just 10% of the costs of recycling and disposing of packaging waste.

Producer responsibility schemes for harder to recycle materials including cars, electrical goods and batteries will be reviewed.

This could be extended to include textiles, fishing gear, vehicle tyres and certain bulky materials such as mattresses and materials from construction and demolition.

To avoid consumer confusion, consistent labels on packaging showing what can be recycled have also been recommended.

Food waste

Weekly collections of food waste for every household and business in England will be explored in a consultation in the New Year, which will include a look into free garden waste collections.

However the Strategy showed no description of how this would be funded.

Further consultations will be launched to look at legal powers to introduce food waste targets and surplus food redistribution obligations and the annual reports of food waste by businesses.

A new food surplus and waste hierarchy will also be published.

Sustainable production

Minimum requirements through ecodesign will be set out to encourage resource efficient product design.

This will be developed alongside a model which will to help businesses to understand their resource efficiency savings.

Defra also reinforced its commitment to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS), subject to a further consultation.

Waste crime

Compulsory electronic tracking of waste and tougher penalties for rogue waste crime operations who mislabel their waste will be introduced.

A Joint Unit for Waste Crime will also be set up to strengthen intelligence sharing and engagement to tackle illegal activity.

Research and innovation

A call for evidence on the development of standards for bio-based and biodegradable plastics will be launched.

Defra has also promised further investment and innovation in resource efficiency.

There will be a move away from weight-based targets towards impact-based targets and reporting, focusing on carbon and natural capital accounting.

Launching the strategy at Veolia’s recycling centre in London, environment secretary Michael Gove said:

"Our strategy sets out how we will go further and faster, to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Together we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource.

"We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste."

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The full report can be viewed here.

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