- The UK Government’s Environment Bill is passing through Parliament and will pave the way for several key reforms to how packaging is collected and recycled in the UK.
- The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is coordinating the consultation process on behalf of all the governments.
RETURN SCHEME (DRS)
- A (DRS) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland will mean that a refundable deposit will be charged for every beverage container sold in these countries by the end of 2024.
- DEFRA are still consolidating responses to their 2021 consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and intend to publish them in summer 2022.
- Government have indicated that the England and Northern Ireland schemes will not include Glass.
- There will now likely be three separate schemes covering the UK: England & Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland
- In Scotland, the Scottish government has already passed the legislation required to implement a DRS and expect it to be operating by August 2023. They have set a fixed deposit of 20p on every container, regardless of container size or material.
- The stated objectives of the schemes are to:-
- Increase the collection rates of beverage containers to at least 90%.
- Reduce the likelihood that these items will be littered.
- The Republic of Ireland is intending to launch its own Deposit Return Scheme in late 2022.
EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY (EPR)
- EPR for all the nations in the UK means that producers of packaging (i.e. brands) will be responsible for the entire net cost of collecting the packaging they place on the market for recycling and disposal, together with the costs associated with littered packaging by the end of 2024. Currently local authorities, with some contribution from the packaging supply chain, fund these services.
- A defining feature of EPR is the principle of “modulation of fees”, whereby packaging is charged different rates to be placed on the market based on it’s recyclability. Infinitely recyclable aluminium, which is widely collected and recycled across the UK, is very valuable to the recycling system and therefore this should be reflected in lower fees for aluminium packaging.
- Fully modulated fees wil not apply until 2025.
- Items which are collected as part of the DRS will not be included under the EPR system.
- All packaging placed on the market will be required to display universal recyclability labels by 2026/27.
- Government have indicated that EPR will likely run alongside (and in addition to) the current Producer Responsibility (PRN) Regulations.
CONSISTENCY OF COLLECTIONS
- Consistency of Collection reforms for England aim to standardise which materials are collected for recycling across all the local authorities in the country.
- DEFRA are currently consolidating consultation responses and aim to publish these in summer 2022.
- The stated objectives of these reforms are to increase recycling rates and improve the quality of recycled materials by:
1. Ensuring that all recyclable materials are collected.
2. Reducing confusion amongst householders about what can be recycled.
- Read the outcome of the first government consultation here.
- Alupro is committed to ensuring that all non- beverage (drinks cans collected through DRS) aluminium packaging is collected by all local authorities.