Defer DRS until impact of EPR understood – Re-Gen
According to Joseph Doherty (pictured right), managing director of Re-Gen Waste Ltd, the UK Government would be ‘well-judged’ to take time to understand the ‘long-term impacts’ of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme, before implementing a deposit return scheme (DRS).
Mr Doherty says that: “EPR should be the first scheme they evaluate. It should be given a number of years to be applied and assessed and a DRS should only be introduced if an EPR system is not able to achieve the set requirements.
He said: “Implementing a DRS alongside an EPR in 2023 is too much at the same time and an EPR scheme will provide valuable evidence, which should help to inform if a DRS model is even needed.”
The EPR ‘polluter pays’ principle means that producers who place packaging on the market, will have to take more responsibility for the costs any waste that packaging generates. Currently producers pay around 10% of these costs, but by 2023 they will be responsible for 100%, to incentivise recyclability in its design. This will take the cost away from Councils.
Government’s powers will also be ‘modernised’ to set producer responsibility obligations. A simplified approach to recycling will be implemented across local authorities, making it easier for the public to recycle. A consistent set of materials will be collected from all households and businesses, with clearer labelling on packaging so everyone knows what can be recycled.
Mr Doherty believes that changing producer behaviour, would cost less and would have more impact, consequently removing the need to duplicate activities within a DRS.
The UK, DRS is an attempt to increase the rate of recycling of single use drinks containers. Uncertainty remains around who is going to pay for the DRS scheme and how much it will ultimately cost consumers and ratepayers, Mr Doherty says.
From my understanding, higher performing authorities would have little to gain and the most to lose from a DRS.
In April this year, analysis from the Institute of Economic Affairs predicted that the DRS scheme will cost around £1 billion to set up and £814 million annually – a massive cost with negligible value for money.
Mr Doherty said: “A DRS scheme should not compete with existing recycling services, that are already delivering significant increases in recycling. It would have to fit seamlessly into the existing infrastructure and add value to the activities already taking place.
“From my understanding, higher performing authorities would have little to gain and the most to lose from a DRS. They gain little under a DRS as fewer drink containers will be diverted from residual waste collection and treatment/disposal, and (in the case of household recycling) they lose most revenue from containers being diverted from recycling. The scheme is at risk of removing 20% of recyclates from the current collection system and a large amount of value.
“And if a DRS removes valuable material from local authority mixed recycling, this would be likely to increase MRF gate fees, to sort lower grade materials.”
Mr Doherty’s said: “I would question whether there is a need for an ‘all in’ DRS scheme, given existing council collection services. It’s capturing consumption ‘on-the-go’ that has to be addressed, not diverting materials from an already successful household recycling system.
“The DRS needs to be at the exact point that someone stops consuming a product and wants to dispose of the packaging. Funding of local authorities to increase the capture of recycling ‘on-the-go’ through the provision of additional recycling bins and other measures should be explored.
“It is also questionable whether the amount of litter would reduce significantly anyway, since cigarette butts, chewing gum and fast food packaging are all key types of litter not tackled under the DRS.
In order to create sustained behavioural change, Mr Doherty contends that: “Far more consideration should be given to investment in education and awareness raising campaigns about the environmental impacts of single use plastics and other products.”
Work commences on epic new workshop
Work has started on the construction of a purpose-built specialist workshop for EPIC Media Group.
The large purpose-built unit is capable of accommodating two large commercial/recycling vehicles with plenty of space to work on them.
The new facility will have a controlled environment that provides the optimum conditions for fitting the graphics, electric vehicle charging points and an external hardstanding work area. In addition, there will be parking capacity for a fleet of vehicles within a gated property with CCTV and on-site security.
The first phase of the work involved clearing the site which has been completed. Phase two involving grounds work is due to start imminently and the erection of the workshop is due to start during November with it set to open early in 2021
The workshop brings a number of benefits, including increased capacity due to reducing travel times, a reduced carbon footprint as well as offering a space for third party companies to come and fit their products to the vehicles. Space is often at a premium at vehicle manufacturing plants, so this facility will reduce the burden on the manufacturers while the trucks are being fitted out with the additional accessories.
Kevin Murton, Managing Director of EPIC Media Group said: “We are committed to delivering an excellent customer service. This workshop comes at a time when personal safety due to COVID-19 is of paramount importance. Our team will be able to continue delivering our services while keeping our clients and themselves safe.”
Enevo partners with Yotta to bring disruptive technology to the sector
Smart waste technology company, Enevo has signed a partnership agreement with asset management provider, Yotta.
The two companies will work together to provide joint waste management software and IoT solutions to local authorities, initially in the UK, and later internationally, to help councils get added value both from their infrastructure assets and their workforces.
Enevo’s IoT sensor technology solution allows authorities to monitor waste bins around the clock, enabling local authorities to optimise their collection schedules and then use the data generated to schedule collections, track missed pick-ups and reduce overflows. This process enables councils to make significant efficiency and resource savings.
Following the partnership with Yotta, local authorities will be able to use Yotta’s connected asset management software, Alloy to visualise and share high-quality data from the Enevo solutions via an application programming interface (API), enabling them to make more efficient use of their operational crews and back office resource.
The ease of access to the data from the Enevo system that Alloy provides will also drive enhanced collaboration and more efficient decision-making across local authorities.
Anique Bravenboer, Alliance Manager, Yotta, said: “We were able to quickly see that the two products complement each other well and that by working together we could achieve more than is we were operating in isolation.
This partnership makes complete sense on every level. We both believe in the concept of ‘data to decisions’ and by collaborating we are able to deliver fully on this vision.
“We are both technology disruptors in an industry that has historically been conservative but we believe this partnership has the potential to shake up the whole sector. Even our customers were approaching us unprompted to ask if we were doing business with Enevo because the synergy between our businesses was so clear.”
Andy Crofts, Director of Business Development EMEA, Enevo, said: “This partnership makes complete sense on every level. We both believe in the concept of ‘data to decisions’ and by collaborating we are able to deliver fully on this vision.
“By having a live feed of data from our solution into Yotta’s Alloy, customers will not only be able to optimise resources but also carry out their workforce optimisation, route planning and asset management much more efficiently.
“Between Yotta and ourselves, we also have a vast amount of experience in the waste world,” continued Crofts, “and being able to bring that combined experience to market alongside the technologies we deliver will allow us to provide a fully rounded package to help take local authorities to the next level of resource efficiencies.”