Thirty Seventh Report Contents

Appendix 3: Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1336)

Further information from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Q1: Table 2 inserted by regulation 2 sets out the new waste recycling targets for 2021 and 2022. How do the new targets compare to the current targets? Is there a comparable table for 2019 and 2020?

A1: Comparable table for 2017–2020 targets is:

2017

2018

2019

2020

%

%

%

%

General recovery

79

80

81

82

General recycling

92

92

92

92

Paper/Board

69.5

71

73

75

Glass

77

78

79

80

Aluminium

55

58

61

64

Steel

76

79

82

85

Plastic

51

53

55

57

Wood

22

38

43

48

Source: Defra

Q2: Paragraph of the EM 7.4 refers to a maximum of 8% that could be achieved through recovery activities and that this instrument does no longer set such a recovery target. What is waste recovery and what does it involve? Why is it no longer seen as an effective tool in reducing waste?

A2: Recycling is considered to be a sub-set of recovery, but recovery can include other processes including treating waste at specially designed combustion plants to generate power and/or heat from waste.

In the context of the packaging regulations reference to ‘recovery’ generally means recovering energy from waste in this way. Recycling is considered to generate better environmental outcomes than recovery (it is higher in the waste hierarchy —see response to question below); and the government made a clear commitment in the Resources & Waste Strategy to increase the recycling of packaging waste. Setting new targets solely for recycling, with no part that can be met by recovery, removes a level of incentive for material to be sent to energy from waste plants and drives more material towards recycling.

Q3: Has the 92% overall recycling target changed at all or is this left unchanged by this instrument? How does the 92% overall recycling target relate to the targets set out in Table 2 for individual materials?

A3: The overall recycling target has increased slightly, but is expressed differently so the “92%” no longer applies. It does not apply to the material specific recycling requirement in table 2.

For example, in 2020, the general recovery target was 82%—so if a company placed 100t of packaging on the market, they had to ensure the recovery of 82t.

The recycling part of the obligation meant that of the total 82t, 92% (or 75.4t) had to be achieved by recycling activities (and the remaining 6.6t could be met by recovery or recycling activities).

The amendment now simply sets a recycling target (76% and 77%) respectively, so a recycling target of 76t and 77t, which is a slight increase for 2021 and 2022.

Q4: Paragraph 7.4 states that “the focus is on moving the management of waste up the waste hierarchy and on recycling targets as a means of evidencing producer responsibility obligations are met”. What does “moving the management of waste up the waste hierarchy” mean?

A4: The waste hierarchy (https://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/framework/) establishes some basic waste management principles and ranks options based on what has the best environmental outcome. “Moving up the waste hierarchy” means trying to ensure that we get the best outcome for the waste in question.

Q5: Paragraph 10.5 states that a “significant minority supported the consultation proposals”. What was the actual percentage that was supportive and what percentage opposed the proposals?

A5: Please see p 93 of the summary (link below)—36% responded “Yes”, 27% responded “No” and 37% responded “Neither”. It is worth noting that a large number of respondents who responded “No” (i.e. didn’t support the proposed targets) actually wanted higher targets (p 93 54.4)

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/packaging-waste-changing-the-uk-producer-responsibility-system-for-packaging-waste

Q6: Paragraph 10.5 also refers to “the expected higher recycling targets for 2025 and 2030 set under a reformed scheme”. This instrument sets targets for 2021 and 2022 — are there plans for further, more long-term reform and for more ambitious targets for 2025 and 2030? If so, what are these and has this already been legislated for?

A6: The government indicated its’ intention in the Resources and Waste Strategy to set ambitious future recycling targets. As part of the 2019 consultation we asked for initial feedback on packaging recycling targets for 2025 and 2030. The proposals we put forward were consistent with those established by the EU. We will consult again on proposals for future targets as part of the consultation next year on the design of the proposed new extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging waste. Our future proposals for targets, including targets for 2023 and 2024, will depend on final decisions on the new EPR scheme for packaging and our proposals for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers. It is likely that the future approach to targets will not be directly comparable with the current approach to recycling targets. No targets have been legislated for beyond 2022.

Q7: Were any concerns or objections raised during the consultation and if so, how have these concerns and objections been addressed?

A7: Responses to questions on targets are in Part B, Section 6. As indicated above, views were mixed on the proposed recycling targets but no objections were received. Following consultation, and prior to finalising our proposals with the devolved administrations, we took advice from the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging.

Q8: What were the responses to the proposal not to set an overall packaging waste recovery target?

A8: Government’s intention not to set an overall recovery target for 2021 and 2022 was clearly stated in the consultation document. The targets on which we were consulting were set out in the consultation document and respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with these targets. These were recycling targets by material and an overall recycling target; no overall recovery target was included. There were no responses that specifically referenced the proposal to remove the recovery target.

30 November 2020





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