On 18 December 2018, the UK Government revealed a new resources and waste strategy that will see industry (businesses and manufacturers) pay for the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste as part of a new initiative to eliminate avoidable plastic waste and to protect the environment from its harmful effects. This will be included as part of extended producer responsibility.
This was announced by UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who mentioned that waste will have to be looked at as a valuable resource to help conserve finite reserves of non-renewable resources. Single-use plastics and food waste will be prime targets.
As part of this new strategy, producers are required to focus more on hard-to-recycle items like cars, electrical goods and batteries. The government intends to launch collection systems for recyclable materials to further enhance recycling levels.
Industry will have to provide funding through extended producer responsibility (EPR) and develop sustainable design; higher fees will have to be paid on products that are hard to reuse, repair or recycle. The EPR program for packaging is planning to raise full net costs between GBP 0.5 billion and GBP 1.0 billion (Rs. 4,000 to 8,000 crore) per year for recycling and disposal. The government will also review EPR schemes for other items that are hard or costly to reuse/recycle like textiles, fishing gear, vehicle tyres, construction materials and bulky waste like mattresses, furniture and carpets. The strategy will also review labeling on packaging, deposit return schemes, mandatory/extended warranties on products and targets for prevention of food waste. z – S Chidambar