Agenda item

Update of the Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport



Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility (pEPR)


Members received an update on the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging policy, designed to make the producers of packaging more responsible for packaging at the end of its life and to aim to incentivise the use of higher levels of recyclable materials and make organisations liable for the cost of packaging collection and disposal.


It would be implemented from April 2024, with Local Authorities to be informed of proposed payments in November 2023. A Scheme Administrator would be set up which would be a public body but had yet to been established.


The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was currently undertaking workshops and consultations with authorities to develop their cost models. Local Authorities were being encouraged to work with DEFRA to help calibrate the cost models.


Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)


The Deposit Return Scheme for England had been announced, which is a scheme that place a small deposit (amount yet to be confirmed) on the purchase of particular packaging drinks materials which is then refunded at point of return. This was designed to provide a financial incentive to the public to recycle and to reduce litter. The scheme as announced would include PET plastic and steel/aluminium cans of a volume between 50 millilitres and 3 litres. Summer 2024 would see the setup of a Deposit Management Organisation to oversee the scheme, who would amongst other responsibilities set the deposit amount received. The scheme would operate using reverse vending machines and retail takeback with no digital scheme for England currently proposed.


Concerns included the impact on Local Authorities in that some materials would still be in kerbside collections and residual waste with questions around how these costs will be covered and by whom. Additionally, that glass was not included in the announced DRS in England was a disappointment. It was felt that this was a missed opportunity to not consider a digital DRS.


Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) Regulations


Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) were explained to be organic chemicals that take a long time to break down and can cause health issues if entering the food chain. POPS had historically been used as flame retardants on upholstery for domestic seating. In Devon, all waste upholstered domestic seating (WUDS) are sent for incineration. The Environment Agency are insisting that Local Authorities move towards separating POPS materials from non-POPS at recycling centres, where they are currently mixed in Devon. Officers considered that separating these before they get incinerated together nonetheless would be an inefficient use of resources. Work was continuing at a national level to try to agree a pragmatic solution with the EA.


Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 (EIP23)


The ‘Environment Act 2021’ required EIPs to be refreshed on a 5-yearly basis. EIP23 set out targets for kilograms of waste per head across a number of categories with Devon and Torbay already reaching these targets.


Future Items


Future items for action by the Waste Management team, or items on which they were awaiting update, included a response from the Government on consistency of waste collections across Devon; as well as the Waste Prevention Plan and a response on the recent consultation on the development of a DIY charging / booking system at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). It was proposed that once the Government had made further announcements a workshop would be set up with members.