Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Veolia UK & Ireland said:
On the consultations in general:
“This is an opportunity for the UK to lead the world in the recycling and sustainability of packaging, and these consultations are a watershed moment. We need to see changes make system-wide impact while keeping it simple in application – materials to be recyclable by design, collected more consistently and ultimately reprocessed back into high value products.
“For our part, Veolia is primed to invest in the UK, take advantage of new technology, build more infrastructure and work with local authorities and business to help them play their role at an industrial scale.”
Consistent recycling collections
“At the heart of this consultation is the need to make it easier for the householder to recycle. It comes down to a trilogy of measures; products better designed for recycling in mind, labelled clearly and collected in a way that suits the user. In the last 20 years it has become much more common to recycle at home – now is the time to remove any existing barriers to make recycling second nature for householders.
“We need to balance the need for creating recyclable materials with the important role packaging plays in keeping food fresh, safe to eat and preserved over long journeys. Harmonising collections will move us closer to a fairer, simpler system and help expedite higher recycling rates.”
Deposit Return Scheme
“It’s a simple formula; collect all the bottles Britain throws away and it will clear the route to sky high recycling rates. Using bottles and cans purchased predominately on the go will attract the type of material we’re currently missing.
“With unquestionable success in Scandinavia and Germany, we have a chance to elevate Britain into an elite group of recycling leaders with this scheme. With the right approach this could mean moving from 60% bottle capture to nearly 100% and clear up our streets and parks at the same time. For any scheme to succeed, it must work in concert with kerbside collections, building on what local authorities have already achieved.”
Extended producer responsibility for packaging
“The stage is set for success if funds are delivered in the right place – to those that implement and deliver on policy – and a simple system developed to ensure minimal unintended consequences or high administration costs.
“We strongly support an extended producer responsibility scheme which shifts the burden of cost to the producer – but we advocate simplicity or it will fail at the first hurdle. We should learn from the landfill tax and packaging recovery note system, (in short – a packaging tax), both of which have proved simple to implement, police and deliver and, over the last 20 years, underpinned a societal shift away from dependency on landfill towards more sustainable ways of processing material – energy recovery and recycling.”
Plastic Packaging Tax
“We welcome the proposal to level the playing field and reward those that choose recyclable content for their new products – it is now up to government to instigate a mass adoption of this policy – a minimum of 30% recycled content in packaging. There currently is not enough material recycled to feed this desire – but that’s the point – when the market demands it, we will provide it.
“The Treasury announced this at last year’s Autumn Budget, industry has woken up to the need to support it and our research demonstrates that a vast majority of people expect this to happen.”