England’s Resources and Waste Strategy published

  • techUK techUK
    Wednesday16Jan 2019
    Opinions

    An ambitious array of policy announcements in the Strategy seek to influence product design and increase manufacturers’ accountability of their products alongside...

Waste policy has seldom been under as much scrutiny as is the case in the last year. In the wake of David Attenborough’s expose of the plastic threat to marine habitats, consumer interest in resources, materials and waste policy has sky rocketed.

No clearer can this be seen than in the Treasury’s recent Call for Evidence on single use plastics which received the highest number of respondents than any other consultation in its history.

It is in this context that the Government published its English strategy for Resources and Waste shortly before Christmas. Under the leadership of Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, officials had been given reign to produce a bold and radical strategy. And there is every chance that if this strategy is enacted it will deliver on this mandate.

There is a lot of detail still be worked up. The strategy signals intent rather than specifics. But rather than just a focus on landfills and incinerators, this strategy considers what can be done upstream to limit the amount of waste that is ultimately generated.

What’s clear is that the government is keen to encourage products to be designed to last longer and are easier to recycle. To achieve this a variety of instruments are being considered:

  •          Use of eco-design to set minimum requirements for resource efficient product design with a commitment to match or exceed the EU’s eco-design standards for material efficiency and to mandate the availability of spare parts.

 

  •          Reform of extended producer responsibility regimes. There are currently four in place within the UK covering packaging, waste electronics and electrical equipment (WEEE), vehicles and batteries. Over the next three years we can expect to see a roll out of these regimes adapted so that producers bear the full costs associated with the collection, treatment and recycling of these products, with some modulation depending on product design.  The role of retailers and the regulation of distance sellers selling product via internet platforms into the UK is also likely to feature as will data security on devices once they have become waste (which was, weirdly, missing from GDPR). Consultations will be rolled out over the coming years starting with packaging (due quarter one) and with WEEE and batteries expected in 2020 (with much of the policy development taking place this year).  techUK will be taking an active role in these discussions.

 

  •          Labels, labels, labels. There is a prevailing school of thought within environment policy making that if you want to drive consumer behaviour you create a label and its no surprise that Defra have signalled an intent to explore the role of ecolabels to communicate a products’ environmental performance. Whether this gains any traction, it remains to be seen. Plans to introduce carbon labelling fell flat when it failed to resonate with consumers. The EU’s eco-flower ecolabel also failed to chime with UK consumers. Guarantees and warranties will also be under scrutiny to assess when the regime could be tweaked to encourage more repair.

Elsewhere, among the policy announcements the Strategy announces plans to digitalise the movement of waste, more consistency in the materials collected from household, and a movement away from weight-based targets to “impact-based” targets. And more besides.

techUK will be working with members in responding to the Strategy through its consumer electronic  manufacturers Waste and Resources Group. This will be complimented by quarterly waste policy teleconferences, which is open to all techUK members and associate members. To register interest please drop us a line.

  • Susanne Baker

    Susanne Baker

    Associate Director | Climate, Environment and Sustainability
    T 020 7331 2028

Share this

FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

As part of our #ConnectandProtect campaign month, Gareth Jones, VP of Intellectual Property at @benevolent_ai expla… https://t.co/KgToy71eOj
On Thursday 04 June, @BSG_Team launches its latest report "Moving to a fibre-enabled UK: International experiences… https://t.co/xJg61CEPIV
A better-connected system: Will apps change the way the #NHS operates? @CivicaUK's Steve Brain explores how the pan… https://t.co/Ofoc9cyBfK
At #COGX2020 #techUK will be chairing "The power of #supercomputing- How do we get the UK strategy right?" Hear fro… https://t.co/NUi7bsPxeG
Learn useful tips from @MicrosoftUK to help you stay motivated and avoid video conferencing fatigue whilst #WFH du… https://t.co/ic3YgCNhsX
If you operate in digital trade & tech exports, join us on 5 June to hear from UK Export Finance on their current b… https://t.co/n4SvBaZXzE
Our increasing reliance on digital platforms shows that, more than ever, it's time for an inclusive revolution.… https://t.co/uI3ZUkAspf
What's the business case for private network investment? Understand the trials and triumphs in deployments and the… https://t.co/6gxzdqnHfT
Did you know techUK were partnering with @cognition_x at #CogX2020 to run five panels as part of the Next Gen Infra… https://t.co/2KAv3asmMZ
techUK Cyber's Zero Trust Working Group launches tomorrow. If you'd like to be part of the discussion on all things… https://t.co/7p4kEGLZQC
Become a Member
×

Become a techUK Member

By becoming a techUK member we will help you grow through:

Click here to learn more...