Extending producer responsibility rules would save councils millions

13th October 2016

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  • Public sector ,
  • Local government ,
  • Waste ,
  • Politics & Economics ,
  • England


Lee Kania

The cost of cleaning up food and drinks packaging and other discarded items that litter the streets should be transferred to producers, saving local authorities millions of pounds a year, according to the Environmental Services Association (ESA).

In a policy paper, the body that represents the UK’s resource and waste management industry argues that applying extended producer responsibility (EPR) to some of the more common components of UK litter could save local authorities around £300m a year.

It lists cigarette butts, chewing gum and fast food, drink and confectionary packaging among the most littered items in the UK and says that transferring the cost of preventing and clearing them up to companies could have a huge impact. EPR shifts responsibility for waste management to the producer of the littered item and away from local government authorities and the general taxpayer.

‘The paper recommends the introduction of producer responsibility levies on the manufacturers of some of the most frequently littered items. This money would be used by local authorities to cover litter clean up costs or to help fund anti-litter campaigns,' said executive director Jacob Hayler.

In response to the growing concern over littering and fly-tipping in the UK and the costs involved, the government has promised a comprehensive litter strategy.

The ESA argues that clearing up litter places a huge cost burden on local authorities at a time when budgets are under exceptional pressure, and wants the government to consider the role that EPR could play in tacking the significant litter problem across the country.


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