Welcome to the Westminster City Council Commercial Waste Services policy update, where we bring you the latest news and initiatives that could impact your business. In this edition, we have highlighted essential initiatives that you need to be aware of, including:
- Waste Prevention Programme for England: A Circular Vision
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Framework: Deferral and Consideration
- Food Waste Reporting: Voluntary Approach Amid Controversy
- Local Government Association’s Call to Ban Disposable Vapes
- Keep Britain Tidy’s Guidance Update for Litter and Refuse
- Chemical Recycling Under Plastic Packaging Tax
Waste Prevention Programme for England: A Circular Vision
DEFRA‘s Waste Prevention Programme for England reflects the government’s ambition to shift towards a circular economy, where goods are kept in circulation for longer periods and at their maximum value. The program emphasises the importance of reuse, repair, and remanufacturing of goods to minimise waste generation. This holistic approach encompasses three pivotal themes:
- Designing Out Waste: Encouraging ecodesign, consumer information requirements, and Extended Producer Responsibility schemes.
- Systems and Services: Enhancing collection and take-back services, fostering reuse, repair, and leasing businesses, and bolstering facilities.
- Data and Information: Establishing materials databases, introducing product passports, and encouraging voluntary corporate reporting.
Seven key sectors have been identified for action based on waste generation data and known carbon emissions:
- Plastic and Packaging
All proposed policies are subject to public consultation, considering their impacts on various stakeholders, including businesses and consumers.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Framework: Deferral and Consideration
DEFRA’s rollout of packaging fees under the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme has been deferred by a year until October 2025. This delay will allow for further industry consultation and cost reduction strategies. Despite this delay, the schedule for reporting packaging data for 2023 remains unchanged. DEFRA also confirmed the introduction of mandatory cups takeback obligations, the continuation of the 2007 packaging regulations in 2024, and the implementation of an EPR sampling regime in October 2024. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle.
A shadow EPR Scheme Administrator is in place, ensuring smooth governance until the official regulations come into effect.
Food Waste Reporting: Voluntary Approach Amid Controversy
In response to a consultation on improved food waste reporting, DEFRA has decided against introducing mandatory food waste reporting for large food businesses in England. Instead, the government will focus on enhancing the number of businesses participating in voluntary reporting until at least mid-2025. Critics argue that the voluntary approach may fall short in addressing the magnitude of the food waste problem, while proponents maintain that it is a more practical and cost-effective strategy to encourage reduction.
Local Government Association’s Call to Ban Disposable Vapes
The Local Government Association (LGA) has raised concerns about single-use vapes, advocating for their ban by 2024. The LGA emphasises the environmental hazards posed by improper disposal of disposable vapes, their impact on litter collection, and the potential for fires in waste collection vehicles. Marketing tactics that target children with appealing designs and flavours have also raised alarm.
Keep Britain Tidy’s Guidance Update for Litter and Refuse
Keep Britain Tidy has been enlisted by DEFRA to update guidance for land managers on proper litter and refuse management in England. The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse aims to provide practical guidance to local authorities and duty bodies, ensuring compliance with legal obligations. This update will align the code with evolving legislation, technological advancements, and changing social landscapes.
Chemical Recycling Under Plastic Packaging Tax
HMRC is soliciting input through a consultation on incorporating chemical recycling into the content of recycled materials under the Plastics Packaging Tax (PPT). The consultation explores the adoption of a mass balance accounting approach for chemically recycled plastic under the PPT, with a focus on preserving tax integrity and encouraging investment in recycling infrastructure.
As the UK navigates its way through these waste management initiatives, the nation stands at the precipice of a more sustainable and circular future. Balancing environmental concerns, economic viability, and stakeholder engagement will be critical in shaping effective waste management policies for generations to come.
What next for businesses in Westminster?
The July/August 2023 policy updates explain the ongoing commitment and launch of government plans to improve the waste and resources world. You can read the full policy update here.
Struggling with these policies and need some guidance? You can start by optimising your waste management services. If you’re not sure on how to get started or if you would like more detailed information on how this relates to your business, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.