Alongside a summary of responses to the consultation on packaging policy held earlier this year. Measures to improve the transparency of funding in the existing system and a number of technical changes to improve the operation of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 are also being introduced. All of these proposals are subject to Parliamentary approval.
In March this year, Defra, along with the Scottish Government, the Department for the Environment Northern Ireland and the Welsh Assembly Government, published the consultation ‘Implementing the Packaging Strategy: Targets, Transparency and Technical Changes’. This sought views on proposals for a number of changes to the producer responsibility regime for packaging waste, as set out in the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007. These regulations impose a legal obligation on packaging ‘producers’ (raw materials manufacturers, converters, packer/fillers, and retailers) to recycle and recover a proportion of the packaging they handle. The consultation received responses from businesses and trade associations, local authorities, civil society organisations and non-government organisations and closed in May. A summary of responses is now available on the Defra website.
In addition, the Government is introducing technical changes which are intended to clarify and update the Regulations. They include two deregulatory changes, one to remove the requirement for independent audit, the other which allows smaller businesses to use a more simple mechanism to calculate their legal obligation, which will save industry an estimated £285,000-£371,000 annually.
Packaging recycling targets for 2011 and 2012 were also published today and subject to Parliamentary approval. The targets will ensure that the UK continues to meet EU Directive targets and are similar to the targets for the last two years. Targets beyond 2012 will be set following the Waste Review, the findings of which are due to be published in Spring 2011.
A summary of responses to the consultation ‘Implementing the Packaging Strategy: Targets, Transparency and Technical Changes’ can be viewed on the following link: archive.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/packaging-regs/index.htm
The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 can be viewed on the following link: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/871/contents/made
Every year, over ten million tonnes of packaging are placed on the UK market. About half that amount goes to households, where it accounts for about 20% of the waste stream and the other half is used in the Commercial and Industrial sectors, where it accounts for about 10% of the waste stream. Policy on packaging has been developed to prevent packaging waste and minimise its impact on the environment at the end of its life, through more recycling. Packaging recycling targets help divert more material from landfill, save greenhouse gas emissions and also makes resources available to the productive economy again.
In 1997 the EU introduced the Packaging Directive, under which all Member States must recover a minimum of 60% of all packaging waste by 31 December 2008 (of which 55% must be recycled), and maintain performance thereafter. The Directive also sets specific recycling targets for key materials including glass, paper/board, metals, plastics and wood.