Action on packaging

Producers will pay for the environmental costs of packaging.

Major reforms to tackle excess packaging and boost recycling rates have been published.

Under UK-wide plans, producers will be responsible for the waste created by their products, ensuring that more packaging is made recyclable or reusable.

Fees will be weighted, with producers paying more for packaging that is harder to reuse or recycle.

This will encourage businesses to use less packaging and to make sure what they do use is either recyclable or reusable.

The fees will help fund improved local recycling collections of packaging waste from households.

Larger coffee shops, fast food chains and others who sell drinks in disposable paper cups will have to provide a dedicated bin to collect and recycle these from 2024.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said:

“Too many products still come wrapped in unnecessary or hard to recycle packaging, much of which ends up in landfill or incineration.

“Pricing in the environmental costs of packaging will encourage businesses to either use less or make the switch to more sustainable alternatives.

“Not only will this reduce waste and emissions, it will also help cut the amount of packaging littering our streets, parks, and beaches.

“We know people want to do the right thing with waste in their homes, but still find it tricky to know what can be recycled, so all packaging will also have standardised recycling labels. This will make it easier for people to recycle packaging correctly.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“These reforms have enormous potential to help drive the circular economy in Scotland and lead to a more sustainable approach to packaging where it is required.

“With more than 12 million tonnes of packaging waste produced in the UK every year, a substantial proportion of which ends up in landfill, it’s hugely important we take action to maximise the value of packaging by reusing and recycling it effectively, and to reduce unnecessary packaging altogether.”


The announcement follows a joint consultation by the four UK nations.


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