DEFRA has asked industry experts to comment on the proposed future packaging recycling targets.
Under the recent consultation which closed on 6 January 2017, the three options were as follows:
Retain the current targets with a zero increase up to 2020.
Implement targets that will effectively be a transitional stepping stone towards the Circular Economy objectives and recycling targets that are to be achieved by 2025 and 2030.
Set new intermediary targets between the above options that are less stretching, except for Aluminium and Steel.
Ecosurety now has analysed these proposals and has submitted a response in favour of the balanced and achievable targets laid out in option 3:
Stretching but realistic targets
Ecosurety believe in the need for stretching, but also realistic, targets that maintain a balanced return for both packaging producers and recyclers. The targets laid out in option 3 have stretching but achievable objectives for steel and aluminium, but moderate increases in recycling for wood and paper.
These increases are illustrated in the impact assessment (see table below) showing which materials are going to need the most increases in collections and recycling above the baseline data.
The targets in option 1 encouraged stagnation in the recycling industry and we anticipate, reduced investment into infrastructure. However, the ambitious proposals in option 2, which mirror those taking us towards the higher Circular Economy Package outputs, would have little benefit for the paper and wood industries. We believe option 2 does little to increase collection systems, and only serves to increase PRN demand for schemes and their members.
The 2018-20 targets come to an end around the same time that we expect to be leaving the EU, thereby allowing the UK more options when deciding whether to follow suit with EU Directive targets, or to build our own path which benefits our own needs.
Influence and invest in new collection systems
Schemes and producers have adequate time to influence and invest in new collection systems to improve the recycling rates over the coming years. With our new innovation to improve recycling investment through Circularety, we are going straight to the heart of improving recycling and putting producer money where it should be, directly into recycling and collections.
The comments from Ecosurety, along with other stakeholders, will now be reviewed by DEFRA ahead of the next Budget due to be released by government on 8 March 2017. We expect to see a formal outcome to the proposed 2018 -2020 targets shortly after the spring 2017 Budget is published in full.
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