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Rishi Sunak PM to Delay EPR Rollout | Extended Producer Responsibility UK

Delays to Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme Possible

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is considering a potential delay in the rollout of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme. These significant reforms, set to start in 2024, are aimed at holding producers accountable for the environmental impact of their products.

A spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has affirmed the ongoing efforts to deliver the EPR scheme. They stated, “We will continue to work with industry as we finalise plans to ensure that the schemes will deliver our environmental goals.”

Defra also assures us that all plans are being consistently reviewed and that the four UK administrations are collaboratively working on the rollout of the scheme, which will operate nationwide.

Industry Concerns Over EPR Delays

Lee Marshall, Policy and External Affairs Director at the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM), expressed deep concern over these potential delays to such a fundamental aspect of the collection and packaging reforms. Marshall emphasised, “EPR is a central plank of the Resources and Waste Strategy and without it, consistent collections cannot be implemented.”

He also voiced frustration over the ongoing delays and policy reversals, which he sees as being counterproductive to the resources and waste sector. It is imperative for businesses in this sector to make significant investments in the collections systems and infrastructure to enable the country to meet its circular economy and net zero waste ambitions.

Marshall further urged the government to maintain momentum with the packaging EPR regime and to announce the outcome of the English Collections Consistency consultation soon, so the resources and waste sector can progress with a comprehensive plan.

Plastic Packaging Tax UK Reform

Jim Hardisty, the Managing Director of goplasticpallets.com, has penned an open letter to the Prime Minister, advocating for an overhaul of the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT). Hardisty believes the current structure of the PPT inadvertently penalises environmentally-friendly products, which impedes competition and business investment. He writes, “Prime minister, I believe that PPT, in its current form, is fundamentally flawed and not fit for purpose. I suggest that it should be scrapped and reintroduced with a clear focus on single-use plastic.”

Despite surpassing the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) estimated revenue targets for its first year, there’s been a growing clamour for reform. Hardisty also invited Rishi Sunak to discuss these needed reforms, stating, “I believe that a constructive conversation with the prime minister can lead to positive change for our industry.”

An Industry Perspective

As a major player in the UK recycling sector, Let’s Recycle It Ltd recognises the urgency of implementing these reforms without further delay. We firmly believe that the EPR reforms, coupled with a sustainable and targeted Plastic Packaging Tax, can pave the way for a cleaner, greener future.

We understand that it is important the EPR scheme be implemented correctly, but any unnecessary delays in these critical measures could hinder the recycling and waste sector’s trajectory towards a fully circular economy with net zero waste. Consistent collections, powered by EPR, play a crucial role in increasing the rates of recycling across the nation.

We agree with Lee Marshall, from CIWM, when he argues, “These continued delays and U-turns are unhelpful and frustrating for the resources and waste sector, which need to make investment decisions about the collections systems and infrastructure now for the country to achieve its net zero and circular economy ambitions.”

The Future of the Plastic Packaging Tax

The Plastic Packaging Tax has been a subject of contention for many businesses; we acknowledge Jim Hardisty’s argument that the current form of the PPT has, rather ironically, put an undue burden on environmentally-friendly products and companies striving towards sustainability.

Hardisty’s assertion that, “The current PPT design has unintentionally disadvantaged sustainably-focused businesses like ours. A reform that recognises the difference between single-use plastic and sustainable alternatives is critical to our collective goal of a greener future,” must not be ignored by policy makers.

A Plastic Packaging Tax that differentiates between single-use plastic and sustainable alternatives could prove crucial in levelling the playing field for all companies committed to achieving an environmentally conscious business model.

Towards a Sustainable Future

At Let’s Recycle It, we stand for a sustainable future and a world beyond wasted resources. Every delay in implementing meaningful change is a setback in our journey towards a circular economy.

In these rapidly evolving circumstances, Let’s Recycle It remains optimistic and committed to driving sustainable solutions that not only benefit our business but also contribute significantly to the greater environmental cause. The journey towards a world beyond waste is a collective responsibility, and we are ready to play our part.

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