Companies would cover the full cost of recycling and disposing of the packaging they produce, under government proposals for reform of the waste system announced today.
Other measures out for consultation by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs include the introduction of a deposit return scheme, consistency in the materials that are collected and recycled across the country and a new tax on packaging which does not contain the minimum threshold of 30% recycled content.
The changes, which also includes mandatory weekly food waste collections, are set to be included in the government’s forthcoming Environment Bill, which is due to be introduced next year.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said the government is determined to drive up domestic recycling.
“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,” he added.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said plastic packaging constitutes two-thirds of all plastic waste that “wreaks havoc on our environment”.
The government’s resources and waste strategy for England, which mooted the measures announced today when it was published in December, said councils would receive extra funding to meet any new costs and burdens placed on them as a result of any potential changes to waste and recycling collections.
Responding to today’s announcement, Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s environment spokesman, welcomed the proposal for producers to cover the full costs of recycling and disposing of their packaging.
He added: “Councils are playing their part when it comes to improving recycling rates with our waste collection services diverting millions of tonnes of waste from landfill every year.
“But we recognise that by working with government, there is more to be done to boost recycling to reach national targets and even higher standards.
“We are clear however that any changes to waste services and additional cost burdens on councils, who are already under enormous financial pressure, need to be fully funded.”
The consultation runs until 13 May.