Defra Want YOUR Views – Should Compostables Become Part of Mainstream UK Waste Collections?

Now here is a huge opportunity. Do you believe compostables have a role to play?

The UK Government is about to completely overhaul our waste systems, and are seeking YOUR views.

This is your chance to tell Defra, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, if you want to see compostables become part of mainstream UK waste collections, and see the Government encouraging the use of renewable, plant-based materials.

We don’t think it’s okay to carry on relying on export to deal with the UK’s contaminated low-grade packaging waste. We have composting facilities here in the UK, but just need to develop our collection infrastructure.

Waste Management Collection Consistency

Do you think compostable packaging should be a core material collected by all local authorities? We do. This is a major opportunity to help the waste infrastructure match up to the new environmental materials businesses want to use.

Plastic Packaging Tax

Whilst aimed at encouraging recycled content in conventional plastics, this risks creating unfair extra costs for compostable materials such as PLA. We suggest that bio-based content should be seen as recycled carbon, so that the 30% materials with over 30% renewable content would be exempt. Alternatively, to include compostable materials as taxable but have a lower friendly rate to reward renewable materials. The Government’s Bioeconomy Strategy aims to encourage more resilience through promoting more renewable materials – here is a chance to put that principle into practice.

Extended Producer Responsibility

This consultation is about reforming the system that allows packaging producers to pay towards recycling infrastructure. As a responsible company, Vegware is happy to pay into this system, but it has to be a fair system that creates a level playing field for compostables. At the moment, plastics recyclers earn money through the PRN system, but composting and anaerobic digestion facilities organically don’t generally benefit from the same rules, even though legally they should. Think composters should be given a level playing field? Let Defra know!

“Compostables represent a small part of packaging production and the scale needs to increase for costs to reduce. At the same time, as plastic production increases from the current 348 million to 500 million tonnes in 2050, the price of virgin plastics is falling. Here the role of a plastic tax and Extended Producer Responsibility for plastics making the producers pay the full cost of externalities, is needed to create a level playing field.”

Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA)

Deposit Return Scheme

Most of this is about bottles and cans, but there are brief questions about coffee cups. How practical would it be for your business if hot cups were included? Please share your views through the consultation.

According to a study carried out by YouGov, looking at consumer insights in retail, eight in ten of the Britons would use a bottle deposit scheme.

Please note: The deadline to share your views are the 12th (Plastic Packaging Tax) and 13th May 2019.