Food & drink federation calls for producer-led EPR and DRS


extended producer responsibility

The Food & drink federation’s industry manifesto has set out that the organisation wants “producer-led” extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes.

The Food & drink federation (FDF) is a membership organisation that represents and advises UK food and drink manufacturers. The manifesto said that it is “fully committed” to the successful establishment of extended producer responsibility (EPR) and deposit return schemes (DRS).

The manifesto also said a “truly circular economy” in packaging recycling should be established in the UK. This will enable manufacturers to turn recyclable, food-grade packaging back into new packaging, the FDF said.

To achieve this, the manifesto said the UK government should work with industry to establish a producer-led EPR by the end of the next parliamentary term to increase plastic packaging recycling rates.

The manifesto said the government should attract investment into the UK’s recycling infrastructure, describing the UK’s current recycling system as complex and fragmented. The manifesto also said the UK government should ring-fence EPR fees for local authorities to invest in improving the UK’s recycling infrastructure. 

Our manifesto sets out an exciting vision for the next decade.

The UK government has appointed the Managing Director of On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) Dr Margaret Bates as the Head of the UK Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (pEPR) Scheme Administrator.

Dr Bates, CIWM (Chartered Institution of Wastes Management) President between October 2016 and October 2017, will take up the role on secondment for up to two years. 

The government should also adopt mass balance accounting to “unlock investment in chemical recycling”, the manifesto said. Last year, HMRC launched a consultation on whether to adopt a mass balance approach for chemically recycled plastic in the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT).

HM Treasury has said a “mass balance approach” for PPT is a way to calculate the recycled content in packaging made from chemically recycled plastic, so it can contribute to the 30% recycled content threshold above which no tax is due.

extended producer responsibility
The manifesto said a “truly circular economy” in packaging recycling should be established in the UK.

As a final step to achieve a circular economy for packaging, the manifesto called for the government to implement a “single, interoperable UK DRS” as soon as possible, and align scope and labelling requirements across all four nations.

As part of manifesto’s objective to reduce food waste, the FDF said the government should align food waste reporting with existing industry practice to ensure it does not place “burdens on businesses already measuring and taking action to reduce waste”.

Commenting on the manifesto, Karen Betts, Chief Executive, The Food and Drink Federation, said: “Our manifesto sets out an exciting vision for the next decade, and we can only achieve this in a productive and ambitious partnership with the next government.

“We want a joined-up approach to food policy across Whitehall, the Devolved Administrations, regulators, the industry and NGOs (non-governmental organisations), to ensure that together we build the resilient, sustainable, innovative and growing food and drink manufacturing sector of tomorrow that the UK needs and deserves.”

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