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Further progress towards packaging reform

This year has been full of heartening news for the resources and waste industry, with public pressure to resolve the issue of plastic misuse turning into political action.

This action was evidenced this week by letters published by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme).

We were asked by WRAP to provide insight into reforming producer responsibility for packaging, along with our counterparts across industry, in order to inform the Secretary of State, Michael Gove. As a leading voice for reform in the last few years, many of the ideas we championed directly to WRAP found their way into the final recommendations published today.

While the devil is always in the detail when it comes to final government policy, the general direction of travel is encouraging. Mr Gove’s response seems genuine in the intent to make a difference by seriously considering radical changes.

Peter Maddox at WRAP and Paul Vanston at INCPEN (Industry Council on Packaging and the Environment) have done an excellent job of representing wide-ranging industry views to flesh out the principles established earlier this year. Now the focus turns to the Advisory Council on Packaging (ACP) who have been charged with providing the detail on how the current regulations could be changed.

Too much power for one organisation?

Many sensible suggestions were put forward by the ACP group in their paper last year. However, the issue of creating an “independent arbiter” will set hares running across industry, which already questions how the ACP group is selected.

It seems that Mr Gove is interested to know if the government has a role to play. Clearly the knowledge and expertise required lies within industry rather than the civil service. Could it be too much power for one organisation to hold? True independence will be vital to ensure this industry does not require further scrutiny once the National Audit Office publish their findings.


Robbie Staniforth

Innovation and policy director

Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.


Written by Robbie Staniforth Published 15/05/2018 Topics Ecosurety

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