Challenges and Opportunities of the Resources and Waste Strategy

Earlier this month, BECG client FCC Environment hosted a round-table with representatives from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and other industry leaders to discuss the merits and limitations of both the proposed Deposit Return Scheme and extended packaging producer responsibility, two key elements of the long-awaited Resources and Waste Strategy.

The consensus in the room was that these proposals present a major opportunity to implement radical change and build a waste management system that reduces waste, increases recycling and delivers financially back in to the system.

It was clear that the need for consistency, clarity and collaboration was imperative to the success of the proposals.

The nature of the schemes means that they must be consistent, locally, regionally and nationally. The current system differs from borough to borough and county to county, but these proposals must be consistent across the UK and align with those on the Continent, something that may be easier said than done in a post-Brexit Britain.

It was echoed across the table that the schemes must be clear and simple for everyone to use in their day-to-day lives. It was widely accepted that although the public wants to help and acts how they see best, it’s common that recycling is still not separated correctly. The Government and the industry must come together to ensure that the schemes are easy for the public to use, in turn engaging them and helping them to succeed in the efforts they make with their recycling.

One of the main concerns raised was around the financial transparency of both schemes. Several industry leaders across the table called on the Government to make both as transparent as possible, because ultimately it will be the consumer who foots the bill. Monies raised must be reinvested back into the system and not go directly to the Treasury, allowing local authorities to continue to support recycling.

Clearly there is still much work to be done with the strategy put forward by Government, but what is needed is an unbiased response to these consultations from industry leaders to ensure that the new system is one that works best and helps meet the UK’s recycling targets.

To have your say on the Deposit Return Scheme and on Extended Packaging Producer Responsibility which are both currently subject to a Government consultation until 18th May 2019, please follow the links.