Businesses need to foot the bill for packaging waste, say MPs

The Environmental Audit Committee has called for a “long overdue” reform of the producer responsibility obligations. The MPs said designing for recyclability should be rewarded whilst fees for hard to recycle packaging should be increased.

By 2023, all plastic bottles should have a minimum of 50% recycled plastic content, the EAC said. A mandatory target will “stimulate and underwrite the recycled plastics market, and to ensure that the industry has an incentive to reuse plastics”.

The MPs also recommended the introduction of a deposit return scheme for bottles. Around 13 billion plastic bottles are used every year in the UK, but only 7.5 billion are recycled.

Plastic bottles make up a third of all plastic pollution in the sea, and are a growing litter problem on UK beaches, Creagh said. “We need action at individual, council, regional and national levels to turn back the plastic tide.”

The UK government is currently mulling over the idea of a DRS. In the New Year it will also begin consulting on the feasibility of introducing further charges on single-use products.

The Foodservice Packaging Association this week said reforming producer responsibility obligations, including the Packaging Note Recovery System, would produce more funds devoted to recycling and collection. This approach would be more effective than taxation, it said.

The EAC also called for all public premises that serve food and drink to provide free drinking water, by law.

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