This week, my colleagues in DEFRA confirmed consultations have been underway on two major, landmark waste reforms, which will tackle plastic pollution, boost recycling and reduce litter, overhauling the waste and resources sector.
This follows our celebration of ‘Global Recycling Day’ last week, and I know recycling means a great deal to all of us across Mid Sussex. We love our important green spaces, and the natural beauty around us – and these reforms highlight this Government's commitment to taking greater action to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste we produce, which poses a real danger to our natural world.
I actually shared my thoughts on ‘Global Recycling Day’, including what my daughters and I try to do on a day-by-day basis to reduce our household waste, here: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/global-recycling-day
These reforms build on our ground-breaking Environment Bill, which includes powers which can be used to ensure manufacturers are more responsible for the packaging they produce and incentivise consumers to recycle more. Further detail on the Environment Bill can also be accessed here: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/environment-bill-update-0
These two reforms are:
- A Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers:
- Consumers will be incentivised to take their empty drinks containers to return points hosted by retailers.
- Every year across the UK, consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, nine billion drinks cans and five billion glass bottles.
- The scheme would cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a separate scheme already under development in Scotland.
- Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging:
- Manufacturers will pay the full costs of managing and recycling their packaging waste, with higher fees being levied if packaging is harder to reuse or recycle.
- In 2019, approximately 11.7 million tonnes of packaging were placed on the UK market. We must ensure more of this is recyclable or reusable.
- The scheme is being developed on a UK-wide basis.
For more information on both reforms, please visit:
There is also a consultation beginning shortly on a third major reform, which would see the introduction of consistent recycling collections for all households and businesses in England.
My colleague, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP, said:
“Through our world-leading Environment Bill we are transforming the way we deal with waste. Tackling plastic pollution lies at the heart of our efforts, and we have already taken steps to ban microbeads, cut supermarket sales of single-use plastic bags by 95% and prohibit the supply of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
“These new changes will further ensure that more of what we consume is recycled and reused. They will stimulate the creation of alternatives to single-use plastics and establish consistent rules to help people recycle more easily across the country.
“Together this action will help the UK build back better and greener from the pandemic, and boost our global leadership in tackling climate change and plastic pollution, as hosts of major climate summit COP26 this year, President of the G7 and a key player in the UN Biodiversity Conference this autumn (CBD COP15).
“The packaging changes are being developed on a UK-wide basis, while the Deposit Return Scheme will cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A separate scheme is already under way in Scotland, and administrations will work to ensure compatibility between the schemes.”