New waste strategy: producers to pay for poor packaging

Waste policy in England will be “overhauled” as part of a new strategy launched by the government this week.

The much anticipated Resources and Waste Strategy – which will be analysed in full by Footprint in January – will force those responsible for producing hard to recycle waste to take greater responsibility and foot the bill. New extended producer responsibility will apply “full cost recovery” to producers and be applied to a range of new waste types.

Other headline proposals in the 150-page document include the introduction of annual reporting of food surplus and waste by food businesses. “Should progress be insufficient, we will consult on introducing mandatory targets for food waste prevention,” the government said.

There will also be a consultation on mandatory food waste collections from households. The government will also consult on a deposit return scheme – set to be rolled out in 2023 this will also include paper cups. Ministers also want to look at more consistent collection systems from households, and consult on their proposed tax on plastic packaging that doesn’t meet a minimum threshold of at least 30% recycled content.

There are also plans to ensure more consistent labelling on packaging so “consumers know what they can recycle”.

“We will cut our reliance on single-use plastics, end confusion over household recycling, tackle the problem of packaging by making polluters pay, and end the economic, environmental and moral scandal that is food waste,” said environment secretary Michael Gove.

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