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Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL184, tabled on 12 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made towards improving recycling and reuse in England; and what steps they have taken to ensure their policies in this regard are compatible with the policies of (1) the Welsh Government, and (2) the Scottish Government.

Answered on

26 May 2021

The 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy sets out the Government’s ambitions for increased resource efficiency and a more circular economy in England. These ambitions require changes in how we produce and consume products and materials, as well as how we treat and dispose of them at end-of-life.

Waste is a devolved issue and the devolved administrations have their own arrangements for waste prevention, household recycling and waste collections.

Our Waste Prevention Programme (WPP) for England has been in place since 2013, outlining actions for the Government, industry and others around the top of the waste hierarchy. This focuses on how to prevent waste, for instance through reusing goods and materials already in the system. We are now consulting on a new WPP for the future – Towards a Resource Efficient Economy. This will help Government departments as well as industry work together to accelerate action in this area for the future. Ministers in the devolved administrations are fully aware of our consultation on a new WPP, and the policy proposals it contains are being discussed at official level.

We are also consulting on our collection and packaging reforms: consistency in collections for recycling, Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging (EPR) and a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Our reform to consistent collections will make recycling easier and ensure that there is a comprehensive, consistent service across England. This will help to reduce confusion with recycling, ensure that there is more recycled material in the products we buy and that the UK recycling industry grows. It would also constitute a significant step towards meeting our 25 Year Environment Plan commitment to eliminate avoidable waste by 2050 and contribute towards meeting our commitment of 65% of municipal (household-like) waste to be recycled by 2035.

Our DRS will ensure that significantly more drinks bottles and cans are recycled and reused and not condemned to landfill or littered in our communities. With consumers paying a small deposit when purchasing an in-scope drinks container, they will be incentivised to take their empty bottle or can to a return point to get their deposit back. The DRS will be for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a separate scheme under development in Scotland, although we will continue work to ensure that both schemes can operate coherently together.

Our EPR scheme for packaging will apply across the UK and will see producers meeting the full net cost of managing the packaging that they place on the market once it becomes waste. Higher fees will be paid by those producers who use packaging that is more difficult to recycle or reuse, producers will need to meet higher recycling targets, and we are proposing that firms will be incentivised to reduce litter and keep our communities clean.