NEWS & INSIGHT FROM THE FPA
EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY AND LITTER
We attended Defra’s Resource and Waste Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting last week. The group meets to advise Defra on the development of the proposed legislation on waste management consistency, DRS and Extended Producer Responsibility. This requires business not only to pay for the net cost of waste management and recycling of packaging, but also the cost of litter. Last week we featured Keep Britain Tidy’s recent litter survey for Defra which not only measured litter on count but also on volume. This means foodservice packaging accounts for a bigger percentage of litter, whereas on count tobacco related litter and chewing gum dominate. We were advised that Defra is reviewing whether the litter financing is modulated so that those items measured by volume could pay an increased share of the UK’s litter bill. The litter bill could potentially be larger than that for the waste management element if the increasingly referenced disamenity or indirect costs are included. A report for Zero Waste Scotland by Eunomia includes costs relating to litter just for Scotland such as:
Property values £100 million
Mental health £53 million
Crime £22.5 million
Local disamenity £73-£770 million
Beach litter disamenity £50-100 million
Defra argues that the deposit return scheme will reduce litter and that items under DRS in litter will have a value, although what happens to revenues resulting from litter related deposits recovered is still being considered. Last weekend witnessed two widely reported illegal raves. Will business be required to fund the cost of removing litter from such activities? Perhaps some believe those attending raves will take litter home to get their deposits back.
We would like Defra to set up a separate business advisory group to focus on the litter element. Defra is currently looking at litter costs. A key concern is whether local authorities will be motivated to issue fixed penalty notices for littering and where FPNs are issued shouldn’t the revenue be factored into the cost of managing litter? We welcome Manchester’s promise to increase littering fines in a bid to become the UK’s first tidy city reported here.
With regard to volume, some small items are as much, if not more expensive, to collect than large ones. An obvious example being chewing gum but also those small tear off bits that get lost in verges and small cracks. What about the litter that is thrown into drains? The latter includes cigarettes and surely the government must plan EPR schemes for tobacco related litter and chewing gum? This process should start now and come into effect on the same day the packaging EPR begins.
Placing the blame for litter on packaging and retailers is clearly wrong. Why will governments not acknowledge packaging only becomes litter when inappropriately discarded by the consumer?
Last week’s Packaging Federation meeting revealed an issue regarding the proposed application of the tax for imports, where the tax is applied at the first point of importation ie as finished packaging and that for UK produced plastic packaging which is proposed to be at the first point of extrusion. Given packaging can be subsequently trimmed, this means trim and skeletal waste will be taxed so putting UK producers at a disadvantage. A tax of £200.00/tonne has been announced.
FPA WEBINAR PROFILES COMMITTEE WORK
Yesterday’s webinar updated members on the work of the FPA Committees and the major topics that the FPA is currently working on behalf of members. Chairman Mark Pawsey urged members to engage with the Association by giving feedback on what they feel is most important for the FPA to do for them at this particularly difficult time in our industry evolution. He also urged members to participate in the various consultations as every voice counts in these – the more we can amplify the FPA voice the better – a view reiterated later in the webinar by SAGA deputy chair Adrian Pratt. Mark said that the FPA has a strong profile in Parliament and it has an important role in influencing decision makers.
The Committee Chairs presented the work of their committee and our thanks to Malcolm Sargent (Finance), Ann Turner (Membership), Dave Lucas and Felicity Read (Marketing), Graham Foster and Cara Cottam (Golf, Activities and Charity) and Anne Sutton (Sustainability and Government Relations) for their presentations. Vice Chairman Mark Byrne and Executive Director Martin Kersh participated as panellists.
Mark Pawsey closed by thanking all committee members, and their companies, for the hard work they put in for the FPA.
If you missed the webinar, you can catch up here.
Valpak and Ecosurety have spent considerable time developing a competitive-based EPR governance model. Going forward, we very much hope the next consultation will consult on both the single, monopoly system and the competitive model and do so such that the consultation document does not unintentionally indicate any bias towards the former. This is a key issue and is one that will need a response from all businesses currently paying into the PRN scheme.
SUPPORT FOR THE FOODSERVICE SUPPLY CHAIN
As reported in The Grocer the FPA is a signatory to a document calling for the further continued support for suppliers to the hospitality and foodservice supply chain. These businesses are the ‘squeezed middle’ and risk being overlooked as the UK’s governments seek to reopen the hospitality sector. Organised through the Food and Drink Federation and chaired by Richard Harrow, CEO of the British Frozen Foods Federation, the report outlines a series of practical steps that are needed including the continuation of furlough support until the sector fully recovers which could be well into 2021. The report can be viewed here.
We were sad to learn earlier this week that snooker player Willie Thorne has passed away. Members might remember that he hosted our annual Awards event at Chesford Grange in 2009. Willie was a great host, very kind and he really got involved. We send our sincere condolences to his family
BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS RULES OF ORIGIN
The FPA has signed a joint letter with Europe’s food sector trade associations to the UK’s EU withdrawal negotiator, David Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier. The letter lists constructive solutions to enable UK producers to ‘continue to utilise a wide range of EU originating raw materials in products that are consumed in the UK or exported to the EU or to other preferential trade partners’. Rules of origin are the terms and conditions businesses must meet to access preferential tariffs secured in a trade agreement and many foodstuffs contain ingredients originating from different countries so a critical factor in assessing tariffs and quotas on the finished item.
Details can be viewed here.
The FDF: Introduction to Immigration for Employers – the FDF has shared this link which sets out details of the new points-based immigration system, read here.
CORONAVIRUS RELATED NEWS
The Financial Times reports that the pandemic has taken a chunk out of the British sandwich market. Read here.
Circular online reports that policymakers, CEOs and other influential individuals are highlighting the circular economy as a solution to build back better in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus. Read here.
The Independent reports that environmentalists fear that producers will pump out cheap plastic to stoke demand and soak up some of the global glut of cheap oil and gas. Read here.
Edie reports that an alliance of dozens of business and civil society leaders has published a new briefing outlining key policy changes and low-carbon investments it believes should be made to ensure the UK’s recovery from Covid-19 produces a greener, more inclusive and resilient economy. Read here.
Let’s Recycle reports on a call for more recycling publicity which came during a Lords’ debate on post-COVID-19 recovery strategies, and how they would contribute to a fairer, cleaner, and more sustainable economy. Read here.
Resource Magazine reports that plans to include fuels made from non-renewable materials in the EU’s renewable energy plans could undermine recycling progress, according to a new policy briefing. Read here.
Let’s Recycle reports that prices paid for packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs) fell from around the £230 mark in May to as low as just £130 by Friday (12 June), significantly pushing down the prices paid for many grades of plastic bottles and film. Read here.
The Yorkshire Post reports that ASDA is to drop 24.5 million plastic forks from its products to reduce own-brand plastic packaging by 15 per cent by 2021. Read here.
WRAP says that recognition for the Love Food Hate Waste campaign has doubled over the last 18 months. according to its latest citizen survey which tracks behaviours and attitudes to wasted food. Read here.