NEWS AND INSIGHT FROM THE FPA
CALL TO DROP TERM BIODEGRADABLE IN RELATION TO PACKAGING
Following soundings with the UK packaging sector, non-government organisations and litter charities, the FPA is calling for an end to the description ’biodegradable’ in reference to packaging.
At the Food Matters Live event last Wednesday, during a session chaired by Martin Kersh, this question was raised by Mark Hilton of Eunomia and the audience agreed unanimously, as it has at a number of other events in recent weeks.
Using the term biodegradable has led many to believe that, no matter where disposed, so called biodegradable packaging will disappear to nothing within a very short period. This is misleading for the public, many of which erroneously believe it is acceptable to litter biodegradable packaging. This in turn causes confusion about compostables which require appropriate end of life treatment and are certainly not acceptable as land or marine litter. This latter point has been communicated clearly by the compostable packaging sector.
We’ve issued a press release calling on the industry to support our call and eliminate the term in relation to packaging – read here.
WASTE & RESOURCE STRATEGY NEXT WEEK?
As of Monday 19 November the long-awaited Defra Resources and Waste Strategy had not been signed off by Government. It had been rumoured it will be published at the end of November but many now think the date has been put back to December. This is a critical document for all FPA members and while the Budget may not have targeted certain packaging items, this does not mean they aren’t still on the Government’s radar and that they won’t appear in the Defra strategy.
Following the publication of Defra’s strategy, we can expect the publication of the three consultations: DRS; EPR, PRN and plastics tax (as one consultation) and waste management consistency. We should also expect a consultation on extending the charge on plastic carrier bags to all retailers.
EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY
Linked to the above, we are informed that one of the PRN options to be included in the consultation proposes a fee rebate (feebate) system for producer responsibility. This means you will be paying a levy upfront based on the packaging you place on the market. This is then refunded to you when you have evidence to prove it has been recycled. This is taken further in a paper published this week by Eunomia here in conjunction with the WWF and Resource Association. This rejects material taxation based on its complexity and proposes again to levy a fee upfront which can be be rebated once a business demonstrates its use of post-consumer recycled materials through certified credits.
The FPA’s proposal for a modulated PRN system based on ease of recycling and recycled content, among other factors, is the most effective option.
Martin attended the INCPEN (Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment) trade association group quarterly meeting last Thursday. The material and business trade associations each highlighted the issues of concern with DRS, micro plastics, tax on plastics containing less than 30% recycled content, and Extended Producer Responsibility topped the list of concerns. The DRS consultation is predicted to offer two options: a full DRS and one just for on the go. We’re pleased the latter, which was proposed in our response to the Scottish consultation, is on the table but there is a possibility the Scottish Government may announce its DRS proposals before the Westminster consultation period is closed. The UK requires DRS consistency to prevent fraud, so the direction taken may well be that defined by Scotland which may also include some non-drinks bottles.
We are very pleased to see that INCPEN and the Packaging Federation amongst others are bringing back the Fresher for Longer campaign – a very effective campaign to inform the public about packaging’s role in protecting food and reducing waste.
CALL FOR EVIDENCE ON LATE PAYMENTS
The Department for Business Enterprise & Industry has issued a call for evidence on the situation regarding late payment by customers that will particularly resonate amongst some members as the Government seeks to find ways of creating a responsible payment structure.
The Call is here and the deadline is 29 November.