Last week, the UK government published summaries of responses to its first consultations proposed in the Resources and Waste Strategy. The consultations generated a high level of engagement, including from IEMA which submitted its own response along with 679 other separate responses and 34 campaign responses. The government also set out a summary of the responses received for the consultation on introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which attracted 1180 responses, excluding campaign responses.

On reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system:

In its summary, the government has confirmed that the principles it had set out for packaging producer responsibility received strong support and it will therefore introduce an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for packaging in 2023. The introduction of the scheme will be subject to the results of a research project commissioned by DEFRA that will consider the best mechanism to achieve better design of packaging (a key area of concern for IEMA). On the issue of infrastructure, DEFRA confirmed that further work will be taken forward to consider how funding will be allocated to local authorities. This work will be taken forward over the remainder of 2019 and further updates on IEMA member engagement opportunities will follow in due course.

On introducing a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

In its consultation response, IEMA had stressed that the full impacts of the diversion of recyclable materials from the UK’s existing kerbside waste collection and waste treatment infrastructure system would require more robust assessment and called for further scoping out of the alignment of the DRS and EPR schemes.

Analysing the results of the consultation, DEFRA confirmed that 84% of response agreed with the proposed principles of a DRS, including two thirds of local authorities who responded. Most respondents wanted all materials included in a DRS, with 59% of respondents prefering the ‘all-in’ DRS option which included containers of any size.

DEFRA has confirmed its intention to move ahead with the DRS, stating that it will seek primary powers to implement deposit return schemes in the Environment Bill. It will then look to hold a second consultation in 2020 on the regulatory framework for introducing a DRS through secondary legislation and, following the second consultation, it plans to introduce the scheme from 2023.

IEMA will continue to work with government on its submissions related to the Resources & Waste Strategy as well as the closely connected blueprint and key assurances needed for an ambitious new Environment Act. Indeed, the blueprint and the key assurances, which were developed in collaboration with the Broadway Initiative, view the bill as providing the key stepping stones for enabling all parts of society to plan, invest and collaborate (through strategies such as RWS) to substantially improve the environment on which we and future generations depend.

IEMA will continue to monitor these engagement opportunities relaying them to members as they arise.

In the meantime, should you wish to receive our regular newsletter on activities connected to sustainable resource management and the circular economy then please email to be added to the IEMA Circular Economy network.


Further Reading:

Internal sources:

IEMA Fellows Working Group – Recommendations on the Resources & Waste Strategy

IEMA Submits Consultation Responses under the Resources and Waste Strategy

Assurances Needed to Put Sustainability at the Heart of UK Economic Model

Blueprint for an Environment Act

External sources:

Resources and waste strategy for England

Consultation on reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system - Summary of consultation responses and next steps

Consultation outcome - Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers (bottles and cans)

About the Author

Marc Jourdan is a Policy & Engagement Lead for IEMA. He leads IEMA’s work on the circular economy and social sustainability issues. He has an LLM in Environmental Law and over 9 years’ experience specialising in sustainability issues. Marc combines his legal skills with the commercial acumen he developed as a corporate lawyer to support members in both the private and the public sector on sustainability matters.