7.0 Consumer Assessment
59. It is important to consider the impact of our proposals on consumers of affected packaging products. The Scottish Government definition of a consumer is "anyone who buys goods or digital content or uses goods or services either in the private or public sector, now or in the future".
60. The Scottish Government Consumer and Competition Policy Unit specifies the questions below when determining the impact of proposed legislation on consumers. While a first assessment has been conducted here (see Table 2), the final assessment will be informed by the public consultation.
Table 2. Consumer Assessment Questions.
Does the policy affect the quality, availability or price of any goods or services in a market?
The reformed packaging EPR system will not directly affect consumers as its aim is to recover the full net costs of the collection, recycling and management of municipal packaging waste from packaging producers.
However, as acknowledged in the UK IA, it is possible that of any additional costs placed on producers through the reform, a certain amount could be passed on to consumers through an increase in the price of products. This potential effect will be further considered for the final BRIA, as it cannot be quantified at this stage.
Does the policy affect the essential services market, such as energy or water?
Does the policy involve storage or increased use of consumer data?
Does the policy increase opportunities for unscrupulous suppliers to target consumers?
No. The risk of suppliers placing packaging on the Scottish market without paying the legally required scheme fees is minimal and would not affect consumers. In fact, increased transparency means that the likelihood of this happening is lower than in the current system.
Does the policy impact the information available to consumers on either goods or services, or their rights in relation to these?
No negative impact on consumers is expected in this respect. On the contrary, one component of the reformed packaging EPR system is better consumer communication and mandatory recyclability labelling to provide a clear and concise message to the disposer. This is expected to benefit consumers in that they would be better informed on what packaging is recyclable, potentially influencing buying decisions and improving recycling rates.
Does the policy affect routes for consumers to seek advice or raise complaints on consumer issues?