Waste and recycling: making recycling collections consistent in England

20 Февраля, 2019, 19:57 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • The world needs to take a stand against plastic pollution says Liz Bonnin

The government has launched a 12-week consultation for a plastic producers tax, a deposit-return scheme and weekly food waste collections.

The consultation is part of wider measures aimed at tackling plastic pollution.

Consumers get through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, nine billion drinks cans and five billion glass bottles a year in the United Kingdom, according to the government department. They say the the first option, known as the "all-in" model, would target a large amount of drinks beverages placed on the market, irrespective of size. It pointed to a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in Germany that has achieved a 98 per cent success rate.

Already in the United Kingdom, numerous supermarkets have embarked on deposit return trials, with Iceland having captured more than 300,000 bottles in under 12 months.

Glass bottles and containers, paper and card, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays, and steel and aluminium tins and cans would be collected from all homes. To do so, the government plans to implement clearer recycling labeling so people know what is actually recyclable, a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans, and free weekly food waste and yard waste collection.

Only 45.7 per cent of household waste in the United Kingdom was recycled in 2017, according to official figures released last week.

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The tax will be payable by producers who fail to use enough recycled material.

"Through our plans, we will introduce a world-leading tax to boost recycled content in plastic packaging, make producers foot the bill for handling their packaging waste and end the confusion over household recycling".

Currently, councils pay 90% of the bill, but under the new regime producers will foot almost all the cost, forcing them to think about sustainable packaging. EPR for packaging is expected to raise between £800 million and £1 billion a year for recycling and disposal.

The government has launched a consultation on how the tax would work, for example, which packaging should be in scope of the tax, how to assess recycled content and which businesses will be liable for the tax. The Government will also explore the viability of EPR systems for cars, electrical goods, textiles, vehicle tyres, fishing gear and construction materials in the future.

Ministers are also consulting on bringing in a deposit return scheme for drinks bottles and cans, to boost recycling rates and cut litter, and for a tax on plastic packaging which has less than 30% recycled content. "That's why we are leading the way to move away from being a 'throw-away" society and drive up domestic recycling.

The plans, which also aim to make household rubbish collections more consistent around the country, will be introduced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove and go out for consultation for three months.

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