Government Responses to Public Consultations

On Tuesday 23 July, Defra published a synopsis of the responses received from the 4 public consultations held earlier this year. Analysis of the responses was undertaken by consultants who reported their findings to Defra and the Treasury, hence the documents present differently, with some containing Executive Summaries and others not.

It was pleasing to note that despite the large number of respondents, CPI responses were used by the consultants to support their reasoning, and were quoted, either with direct attribution or under more generic title on a number of occasions.

The various documents can be found on the Government website as follows:

Reforming the Packaging Producer Responsibility System
Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England
Plastic Packaging Tax

A brief outline of each is below:

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

• 679 Responses received
• Backing for 100% of costs to be borne by producers (rather than 80%)
• No clarity on single point of compliance or shared responsibility (as now).
• “Further research” on impacts of de-minimus
• Voluntary measures on cups are preferred but possibly with specific recycling targets
• No clear consensus on recycling targets
• “Strong support” for closed loop for all materials
• Further work on Governance to focus on Models 1 & 2 plus consideration of “Hybrid” proposals. Model 4 (Deposit based scheme) not being pursued.

Next steps

Will introduce an extended producer responsibility system for packaging in 2023. Will seek to take primary powers in the forthcoming Environment Bill.

Will undertake further analysis to inform more detailed proposals on the specific nature of an extended producer responsibility. This work will be taken forward over the remainder of 2019, bringing final proposals forward for consultation in 2020. Will engage with product manufacturing, retail and packaging businesses and their associated trade bodies, local government, waste management companies and reprocessors as well as the Regulators and other organisations as final proposals are developed!

Subject to the outcome of the second, more detailed consultation, the necessary changes will be implemented as soon as practical thereafter. Acknowledged the concerns and comments of stakeholders on the proposed timeline and phasing of the introduction of EPR, a possible DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the collection measures for England.

Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)

• 208,629 Responses received of which 207,089 were via NGO “campaigns”
• This “overwhelming response” used to justify continuing with DRS for implementation by 2023
• General view that there is support for the proposals contained in the consultation and the materials and products in scope.
• Widespread acceptance of definition of “Producer”
• Further development of Impact Assessment to include carbon impact of journeys to return containers including consumers
• Statement that “noting the Scottish Government has already brought forward proposals for a wide-ranging DRS. We will continue to work closely with the devolved administrations to ensure a consistent, coherent UK-wide approach in adopting a DRS.”

Next Steps

Will seek general primary powers in the Environment Bill to introduce deposit return schemes. Minded to introduce a DRS for drinks containers in England and Wales, from 2023, subject to receiving additional evidence and further analysis on the costs and benefits of such a scheme. Want a timetable that is ambitious but realistic, given the desire to develop and implement an effective, cost-efficient scheme that works coherently across the UK.

Will consider which drinks containers are to be included; anticipate this could be drinks containers up to 3L in volume, but the final upper limit will be subject to the outcome of additional evidence and further stakeholder engagement. The proposed scope and model of a DRS will be presented in a second consultation in 2020. Following the second consultation, a DRS would be implemented from 2023.

Collections Consistency

• 1713 Responses
• Strong support for collection of core materials including food/drink cartons. Also support for plastic film but concern from Waste Management Companies (WMCs)
• Strong support for separate collections but “modified” by continued acceptance of TEEP
• Businesses to segregate waste for recycling
• Support for non-binding performance indicators for local authorities (CPI argued for binding as a necessary part of our requirements for providing funding)

Plastics Packaging Tax

• 436 Responses
• Document summarises the range of responses but gives little away on any change in Treasury thinking
• Treasury “will seek to ensure that the tax complements EPR, DRS and Collections Consistency proposals.
• Next steps to be announced in Budget 2019 with further consultation in 2020
• Tax “will be implemented in 2022”

For further information contact Simon Weston on 07887 641481 or email