Broadly Similar Package to the EU Circular Economy

UK Government Outlines Circular Economy Package to Boost Recycling & Sustainability

With the end of the transition period for Brexit looming ever closer, the UK government has outlined plans for its own Circular Economy Package (CEP).

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With the end of the transition period for Brexit looming ever closer, the UK government has outlined plans for its own Circular Economy Package (CEP).

The EU Circular Economy Package includes a target to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035 and measures to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or incinerated.]

To a large degree the UK’s CE package is has stays true to the EU package it had been due to implement, if it had not left the union. It too restricts the materials which can be landfilled or incinerated, and includes a requirement that waste which is separately collected for recycling must not be incinerated or sent to landfill.

According to Defra, it paves the way for more recyclable materials to be kept in circulation within the resources and waste system, instead of being burned or buried. The government also argues that it builds on its  landmark Resources and Waste Strategy, which ensures we go further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle more of our resources.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“We are committed to increasing our recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill to create a cleaner waste industry and reduce carbon emissions.

“Through our landmark Environment Bill we will be bringing forward a raft of measures to do just that, and this new Circular Economy Package takes us yet another step forward to transforming our waste industry.”

The government added that the Circular Economy Package is an important part of the its existing commitment to move towards a more circular economy and reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

It also highlighted the Resources and Waste Strategy which sets out plans to transform the waste industry and produce a more circular economy by going further and faster to reduce, reuse and recycle more of our resources.

This includes having a consistent set of recyclable materials for collection in England, no matter which part of the country people live in; a deposit return scheme (DRS) for single-use drinks containers to increase recycling rates and tackle litter; and an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system which sees industry paying higher fees if their packaging is harder to reuse or recycle.

Legislated for through our landmark Environment Bill, these measures will help drive up recycling levels and decrease the amount of waste being sent to landfill. We are also committed to introducing a new world-leading tax for businesses which produce or import plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled content. This is subject to further consultation currently taking place.

Chartered Institution of Wastes Management
Responding to the package, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) commented:

“Earlier this week, CIWM went on record stating that Defra should provide clarity on the UK Government’s intentions with regards to the EU Circular Economy package given the passing of the transposition deadline. We are pleased, therefore, to see the joint statement issued today by the four UK governments.

“While the devil is always in the detail, and CIWM will be scrutinising the list of transposition measures proposed, it is reassuring to see that the UK will remain aligned with an important package of measures that will shape resources and waste policy across Europe for years to come.

“We also look forward to working with the UK governments to ensure that the UK genuinely does lead the way “in driving global resource efficiency” in the future.”

A full breakdown of measures and proposed approaches to transposition can be seen here.