Response to Defra Resources & Waste Strategy
Executive Director Martin Kersh comments:
“The FPA welcomes Defra’s Resource and Waste Strategy with the objective of waste being turned a resource – a policy which a number of leading councils adopted a few years ago. This strategy represents a big step in improving the quantity and quality of recycling needed to keep materials in use for longer so the UK truly does become a circular economy.
“The strategy recognises the progress made to recycle paper cups with over 4,500 places to dispose of used cups and we welcome the proposed consultation on a deposit system for cups. Although this is a better option than the so called latte levy as the collection of cups will increase further, this comes with a large caveat. We’re not aware of reverse vending machinery that can handle cups which means customers’ deposits will need to be returned to the till where fresh food is being handled. This has huge hygiene implications and dealing with this alone will add costs to coffee and sandwich shops, cafes and takeaways, many of which are struggling on the High Street. In addition there are costs associated with administering a deposit system which will have a disproportionate financial impact particularly on the very hard pressed independent sector.
“If cups were to be included in the Deposit Return System then we presume they will be outside the scope of the proposed Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) proposals since the deposit system together with the ability to recycle 100% of cups in the UK, meets the requirements of EPR.
“It is important that finds raised through EPR are used to support improvements in collection, sortation and recycling. Merely moving the net cost to business isn’t enough if we are simply going to be standing still. We all have to play our part in increasing UK recycling and composting infrastructure so that the public has full confidence that their efforts will result in more recycling to achieve the increased targets. Importantly and not to be missed is the ending of de minimus (minimum qualifying financial and packaging turnover) with regard to producer responsibility, meaning all businesses take part. This has been at the forefront of the FPA’s campaign to reform the PRN system.”
“The ending of limiting the carrier bag charge to businesses employing more than 250 is also welcomed.
“We very much support mandatory food waste collection but not if it will impose additional costs on England’s hard pressed councils. We note the hospitality sector is to be tasked to reduce food waste further. The success of the Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement demonstrates the industry’s ability to achieve food waste reductions. However we question why the need to reduce food waste in households isn’t being more strongly addressed.
“We agree industry should take more responsibility for hard to recycle products but question why apart from research funding proposals no direct action is being taken on cigarettes and chewing gum accounting for over 50% of litter. While the litter strategy is meant to cover this it must be abundantly clear that as far as the propensity to litter these two items neither the litter strategy nor this resources strategy will make any impact. We very much welcome the intention to confront and end waste crime.
“Consistent labelling is hugely welcomed and the FPA proposes the most simple system being ‘recycled’ or ‘not recycled’. We question the point of anything in between which research shows only serves to confuse the public.
“It is pleasing to see the strategy formally recognises the role of packaging in keeping food fresher for longer and that Government seeks a balance between reducing packaging and reducing food waste, recognising the danger that eliminating the packaging would have on food waste.
“Given the impact the strategy will have on householders and given their participation is needed particularly with regard to food waste collections and the impact this has for their other waste, we would urge Defra to issue a shortened version of the strategy highlighting the key benefits and the participation needed to make this all work.
“The public should be made aware from the outset that their participation is crucial if progress is to be made.
Once In A Lifetime Opportunity
“We now look forward to receiving and taking part in the consultations which form part of the process to deliver the strategy. Our aim is to ensure all money raised is used as above and that business has an input into how monies are allocated and that the process is 100% transparent. This is once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve a genuinely world beating UK recycling infrastructure where waste is truly a resource. To achieve this Government must work closely with business and ensure the unintended consequence of putting foodservice operators out of business is avoided.”
Ends 18 DECEMBER 2018
Issued on behalf of the Foodservice Packaging Association by Leapfrog PR. Editorial contact is Felicity@Leapfrogpr.com or call 01242 282000 or mobile 07887 608353