Tuesday, 14 May 2019 12:08 GMT

The packaging industry responds to consultations

Designers, brands, manufacturers, retailers, councils, recyclers and resource & waste management companies have penned a letter to environment secretary Michael Gove in response to ongoing packaging consultations.

In February 2019, four consultations were launched by the government as part of its resources and waste strategy, including one which focused on extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging.

Currently, packaging producers pay 10% of the cost to recycle its products. The consultation on EPR for packaging calls for the cost of recycling to be raised to 100% as an incentive to producers to switch to recyclable packaging.

At the time the consultations were launched, Materials Recycling World (MRW) reported concerns raised by the food and drink packaging industry that its members would struggle to manage the demands of the consultations amidst Brexit uncertainty.

Signees of the letter include organisations such as the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN), the Confederation of the Paper Industries (CPI), and the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA).

We hope the alignment of views from across the packaging value chain is a powerful demonstration of our willingness to help Ministers transform outcomes

The letter praises Gove for his engagement with packaging and the government’s role in creating a sustainable framework, and says: “Every-day packaging materials – such as card, glass, metals, paper, plastics and wood – all have significant roles to play in reducing the UK’s current carbon emissions towards an overall goal of net zero. The UK has clear opportunities to lead the way internationally.”

In response to the EPR packaging consultation, the signees call for a ‘lean strategic not-for-profit body’ to oversee the reformed EPR system.

The letter requests that such a body operates UK-wide and has a co-operative governance model drawn from across the value chain.

Every-day packaging materials – such as card, glass, metals, paper, plastics and wood – all have significant roles to play in reducing the UK’s current carbon emissions

The purpose for the body would be to ensure full net cost recovery is achieved annually and to also decide system costs relating to packaging design decisions, as well as deciding what is and is not recyclable.

The letter also calls for money that producers pay, and income councils receive to be within a “transparent and ‘fair funding framework’” overseen by the EPR strategic single body.

The consultations ended yesterday (May 13th) and the results will be presented in an Environment Bill in Parliament later in the year.

“We hope the alignment of views from across the packaging value chain is a powerful demonstration of our willingness to help Ministers transform outcomes,” the letter concludes.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.