Local authority leaders have welcomed the Government’s new waste strategy, which aims to encourage businesses and manufacturers to use easily recyclable packaging.
Environment secretary Michael Gove has launched the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy which he said would ‘cut our reliance on single-use plastics.’
Under the new strategy, producers will have to pay the full net costs of disposal or recycling — up from the current 10% — if their products are harder to reuse, repair or recycle.
Whitehall calculates that Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging will raise between £0.5bn and £1bn a year for recycling and disposal.
‘Our strategy sets out how we will go further and faster, to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Together we can move away from being a ‘throw-away’ society, to one that looks at waste as a valuable resource,’ said Mr Gove.
‘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.
‘Through this plan we will cement our place as a world leader in resource efficiency, leaving our environment in a better state than we inherited it.’
Responding to the announcement, Cllr Martin Tett, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘The LGA has long called for businesses and manufacturers to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging, and we are pleased the Government has listened to us.
‘Councils have been successful in increasing recycling levels and, alongside Government, recognise that even more needs to be done to boost recycling to reach national targets and even higher standards.’
The new strategy will also see the existing recycling system simplified, with new plans for a consistent approach across England.
This would involve restoring weekly collections in some local authorities and consulting on free garden waste collections — changes Cllr Tett insists must be fully funded.
‘Not every council area is currently able to recycle everything due to long-term contracts being held with different companies with different infrastructure available. Therefore, upfront funding is vital to making this work,’ he said.
‘It is crucial that any new system is phased in over time and still allows councils to determine how their local services work for residents, and takes account of the differences between inner city and rural areas.’