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Scotland's Zero Waste Plan: Consultation

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Annex - N - Packaging waste

Legal requirements

1. Article 14 of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive lays down that a separate Chapter must be prepared on packaging in National Waste Management Plans. This Annex, when finalised, will constitute this Chapter.

Packaging data

2. Tables 10a to 10f in Annex B provide information on Scottish packaging data.

UK Packaging Strategy and Scotland

3. The Scottish Government, with the UK Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Department for the Environment (Northern Ireland) published a UK strategy on packaging earlier this year: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/packaging/pdf/full-packaging-strategy.pdf

4. A list of actions contained in the Packaging Strategy are noted in Table 1, at the end of this Annex. Key points are:

  • Further work on eco-design (in line with Zero Waste principles).
  • The promotion of refillable and reusable packaging (again, in line with Zero Waste principles and the re-use framework outlined at Annex G)
  • The promotion of best practice in packaging recyclability (in line with the Scottish Government's strong emphasis on recycling and the emphasis on recycling in the revised Waste Framework Directive).
  • Work by the Waste and Resources Action Programme ( WRAP) to identify priority sectors for packaging reductions and to establish the next generation of voluntary agreements with industry.
  • Work to raise consumers' awareness of packaging and to make it easier to take action against excess packaging.
  • Increased collection of key packaging materials and increased reprocessing capacity (eg the capital grant scheme just run in Scotland by WRAP for infrastructure to reprocess mixed plastics).
  • Work with Material Recovery Facilities ( MRFs) to increase capacity and quality of outputs.
  • Work by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA), and the other Environment Agencies in the UK, to secure compliant waste exports.
  • Increased recycled content in packaging.
  • Changes to the existing Producer Responsibility system. Objectives include: promoting greater co-operation in all parts of the packaging chain; making producer funding more transparent and reviewing the role of compliance schemes and individually registered producers.

5. Question 16 a) in Scotland's Zero Waste Plan consultation (2009) seeks views on whether the Scottish Government should explore further the merits of different forms of producer responsibility, which might more directly support household recycling collections. Question 16 also asks about producer responsibility more generally (not just in relation to packaging).

6. Comments are welcome on the UK Packaging Strategy and should be submitted at the same time as comments on Scotland's Zero Waste Plan consultation (2009).

Existing work on packaging

7. There are five main areas of work at the moment.

  • Legislation on Essential Requirements in Packaging. These are currently a reserved matter for the UK Government's Department for Business Innovation and Skills ( BIS).
  • Work by the Waste and Resources Action Programme ( WRAP) with retailers and suppliers to reduce packaging. ["The Courtauld Commitment"].
  • Advice to business on packaging.
  • Producer responsibility on packaging, requiring suppliers putting packaging onto the market to recover proportions of it.
  • Information provided to the public on packaging, through Waste Aware Scotland.

Essential Requirements in Packaging

8. The Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (as amended) are currently a reserved matter. They set out the requirements that all items of packaging must meet before being placed on the UK market. The Essential Requirements are, in summary:

  • Packing volume and weight must be the minimum amount to maintain necessary levels of safety, hygiene and acceptance for the packed product and for the consumer.
  • Noxious or hazardous substances in packaging must be minimised in emissions, ash or leachate from incineration or landfill.
  • Packaging must be manufactured so as to permit reuse or recovery in accordance with specific requirements.

9. These Regulations are enforced by Trading Standards Officers. Trading Standards Officers investigate complaints of excessive packaging and can offer guidance on specific packaging products and proving compliance.

10. More information on these requirements can be found at: http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/sectors/sustainability/packaging/Packaging%20in%20the%20UK/page38930.html

Work by WRAP with retailers and suppliers on packaging

11. The Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement between WRAP and major UK grocery organisations that supports less packaging and food waste ending up in household bins. Aims of the Courtauld Commitment are:

  • To design out grocery packaging waste growth by 2008. This first target was achieved.
  • To deliver absolute reductions in packaging waste by 2010; and
  • To help reduce the amount of food UK householders throw away by 155,000 tonnes by 2010, against a 2008 baseline.

12. Detailed information on the Courtauld Commitment can be found on WRAP's website at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/retail/courtauld_commitment/

13. WRAP are currently discussing with the home improvement sector how best to work with them and what type of voluntary agreement should be put in place.

14. WRAP are also discussing with retailers and their supply chain how the Courtauld commitment should be taken forward in the future. Key issues are:

  • The best way to measure progress on packaging (using Greenhouse Gas emissions might be the best way to show environmental performance generally, although further work would need to be done on how best to measure greenhouse gas emissions from packaging).
  • Ensuring that packaging put on the market is recyclable and collection and reprocessing facilities are available.
  • The type of support which should be available from WRAP.

15 The Climate Change (Scotland) Act has a provision enabling the Scottish Ministers to lay down targets on packaging reduction. This provision will not have any direct impact unless and until the Scottish Ministers make implementing regulations. Currently, the Scottish Government is pursuing voluntary ways of reducing unnecessary packaging, such as the Courtauld Commitment, as outlined above. If voluntary measures should not succeed, the Scottish Government would then consider if the regulatory route should be followed.

Deposit and return

16. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act also has a provision enabling the Scottish Ministers to make regulations introducing deposit and return schemes. As outlined throughout the draft Plan, the Government, working with partners, is already taking steps to improve recycling facilities across Scotland and plans to take further steps. For example, section 3.6 of the draft Plan notes that the Scottish Government is convening a round table to consider what more could be done to establish recycling zones in public places right across Scotland. If voluntary measures to increase recycling should not succeed, then the Scottish Government would consider if the regulatory route should be followed.

Advice to business on packaging

17. Envirowise provides a wide-range of services to businesses to help reduce their packaging resource use: http://www.envirowise.gov.uk/scotland/Topics-and-Issues/Packaging.html Envirowise has developed an on-line packaging tool called 'Pack-In'. This is a packaging indicator tool that helps business assess and reduce the environmental impacts of their packaging: http://www.envirowise.gov.uk/scotland/Our-Services/Tools/PACK-IN-The-Packaging-Indicator-tool-for-eco-design.html

Producer responsibility in packaging

18. In line with EU requirements, regulations are in place to require bodies putting packaging on the market to recover a proportion of this packaging. Regulations are currently made on a Great Britain basis (similar provisions are in place in Northern Ireland). The Regulations place obligations on all UK companies that have a turnover exceeding £2 million and that handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging per annum.

19. More information can be found on SEPA's website at: http://www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_regulation/producer_responsibility.aspx

Public information

20 Waste Aware Scotland has established a "Positive Package" website, to provide information to the public on packaging. This can be found at http://www.positivepackage.org.uk/

21. The Waste Aware Scotland local authority campaigns have been re-branded to show images of real products that can be recycled. This is being delivered in partnership with local authorities and retailers and suppliers. Examples can be found at http://www.wasteawarepartners.org.uk and on http://wasteawarescotland.org.uk in the "where you live" section.

Table 1: DETAILED LIST OF ACTIONS IN UK PACKAGING STRATEGY

No.

Page

Action

Extends to Scotland?

1.

4

Consult on Packaging Strategy in National Waste Management Plan

Scotland only

2.

6 and 30

Central information point for eco-design

Yes

3.

6 and 37

Review the scope for promoting refillable and reusable packaging

Yes.

4.

6.

Green public procurement - the public sector leading from the front

Yes.

5.

6 and 34

WRAP will identify priority sectors for packaging reductions and develop new voluntary agreements

Yes.

6.

6 and 34

New Courtauld commitment on packaging

Yes

7.

6/7, 32 and 35

Raise consumer awareness and make enforcement easier:

  • Tool to help enforce the Essential Requirements Regulations
  • Work by WRAP with manufacturers and retailers of products commonly thought to be excessively packaged

Yes.

Waste Aware Scotland have established a consumer-facing website on packaging.

8.

7 and 44

Increased collections of aluminium at work, through local authorities and on the go. Includes work by Alupro, local authorities and WRAP.

Yes.

9.

7.

Consult on banning aluminium from landfill.

No. Specific England-only commitment.

However, landfill bans project extends to Scotland and question 20 in Scotland's Zero Waste Plan consultation seeks initial views on potential landfill bans.

10

44

Increase producer responsibility targets for aluminium

Yes

11.

7

Consult on new producer responsibility targets to increase plastic bottle recycling and to widen collection and recycling to other types of plastics.

Yes.

12.

7

Work on SME recycling

Yes, although work will be taken forward separately in Scotland.

13.

7

Work with WRAP and local authorities on the use of income-sharing contracts.

No. Discuss with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities ( COSLA)

14.

7 and 53

Further work by WRAP with MRF operators to raise standards. This work includes:

  • Promoting and sharing good practice across the MRF sector
  • Benchmarking the quality of MRF recyclate
  • A project on whether MRFs can separate glass to a quality suitable for remelt.

Yes.

15.

7

Work by SEPA (and other UK environment agencies) to secure compliant waste exports

Yes.

16.

7

Increase recycled content in packaging

Yes.

17.

7 and 59

Consult on changes to producer responsibility regime which would:

  • ensure greater collaboration;
  • ensure more transparency (eg of reprocessor accountability for Packaging Recovery Note ( PRN) funds and of conditions under which Packaging Recovery Notes/Packaging Export Recovery Notes can be issued);
  • change current 2-tier fee structure for reprocessors;
  • discontinue the option for producers of registering individually and demonstrating compliance themselves;
  • introduce more onerous conditions for compliance schemes; and
  • introduce civil sanctions in England and Wales.

Yes, except civil sanctions will not extend to Scotland.

18.

7 and 58.

Improve packaging data

Yes.

19.

7/8 and 60 to 62

Work on greater partnership working between Local Authorities.

Discuss with COSLA. (Some of the work in England reflects the two-tier local government system in place in most of England).

20.

8

Support local authorities to get the best out of the tendering process for recyclables collection and sorting services

Discuss with COSLA. (Some of the work in England reflects higher levels of contracting out than in Scotland).

21

25 to 27

Further analysis on moving to carbon-based targets on packaging

Yes

22.

27

Consultation on proposals for carbon-based packaging targets, to link in with potential review of Packaging Directive around 2014

Yes

23.

30

Government to raise awareness of advice on eco-design

Yes

24.

30

Envirowise doing face-to-face and online workshops on eco-design for industry in 2009

Yes.

25.

30

A packaging sustainability matrix

Yes

26

32

International Standards Organisation considering memorandum for work on a global set of environmental packaging standards

Yes

27.

32

Department for Business Innovation and Skills ( BIS) working to promote design methodologies available in packaging standards

Yes

28.

32

European Commission studying implementation by Member States of the Essential Requirements

Yes

29.

33

European Commission issuing further guidance on the Essential Requirements

Yes.

30.

33

UK continuing to press European Commission for clearer language in the Packaging Directive on "acceptance ….for the consumer"

Yes

31.

45

WRAP will negotiate sector-specific voluntary agreements to increase glass recycling in the commercial stream

Yes

32.

46

Consult on options to maximise carbon benefits from glass recycling. This include producer responsibility colour targets or end market targets, aiming to increase closed-loop recycling.

Yes.

33.

46

Work to improve data on commercial and industrial plastics recycling

Yes

34.

46

Continued WRAP work on plastics including encouraging self-sustaining closed-loop end markets; work with the reprocessing industry; work on mixed plastics sorting and technology trials.

Yes

35.

47

Consult on adapting producer responsibility targets to deliver a phased expansion in plastics recycling. This could include splitting the plastic target according to packaging type and raising the targets at different speeds.

Yes

36.

48

New home compostable packaging certification scheme for biopolymers

Yes

37.

48

Continue to monitor steel market

Yes

38

48

Consult on paper Producer Responsibility targets, in line with recent increases

Yes

39.

51

DEFRA statement on commercial and industrial waste

No. England only. Scotland will be covered by new National Waste Management Plan.

40.

55

UK may consider alternatives to current Producer Responsibility regime when Directive is reviewed. Devolved Administrations may do so earlier.

Yes - earlier in Scotland, in line with Zero Waste Think Tank recommendations.

41.

60

Work with local authorities in the design of collection systems to encourage convergence.

Discuss with COSLA.

The Scottish Government
August 2009