Producer duty fails cost test

16th September 2011


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Prevention & Control ,
  • Waste ,
  • Disposal ,
  • Minimisation

Author

IEMA

Government measures to ensure manufacturers take responsibility for the waste created at the end of product life cycles are failing because local authorities and taxpayers are paying to recover and recycle the materials.

That is the conclusion of a report for the Scottish government outlining potential producer responsibility regimes.

To be effective the regimes, which cover packaging, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and end-of-life vehicles, must ensure the full financial burden of collecting and recycling waste rests with the producer, argues the report.

These firms can then pass the additional costs on to consumers, ultimately following the “polluter pays” principle. However, this is not the case in the UK, where efforts to minimise the cost to industry of regimes such as the obligation to take back WEEE have resulted in local councils paying for the majority of waste management.

Another criticism is that the UK only attempts to meet the minimum requirements of EU Directives, rather than attempting to set leading targets.

Responding to the criticisms in the report, a spokesperson for the business department said the regimes were important in meeting the UK’s obligations under European law but that the government was committed to improving them where necessary.

“The government wants to work in partnership with local authorities and businesses to encourage and spread best practice in waste prevention and resource management,” he said. “This includes looking to business to take greater responsibility for the products they place on the market, from design to disposal.”

The Scottish report was welcomed by the country’s environment secretary Richard Lochhead, who said it would help to inform future waste policy in Scotland.

“As our zero waste plan is driven forward, there is scope to consider how existing producer responsibility regimes may more effectively influence and improve the management of waste and resources.”
Zero Waste Scotland has already confirmed that it is looking at options to take forward pilots of deposit-and-return systems outlined in the report.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Four in five shoppers willing to pay ‘sustainability premium’

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Around 20% of the plastic recycled is polypropylene, but the diversity of products it protects has prevented safe reprocessing back into food packaging. Until now. David Burrows reports

3rd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Stella Consonni reports on the existing legal framework and the main challenges

15th January 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close