Post-consumer recycled materials: A new report published by Eunomia Research and Consulting (November 20th) outlines policy measures to help deliver increased use of post-consumer recycled materials (PCR) in the UK economy.
Post-consumer recycled materials – The report entitled ‘Demand Recycled: Policy Options for Increasing the Demand for Post-Consumer Recycled Materials’, looks at a range of policy options and identifies new ideas around the effectiveness of various policy interventions, responding to the growing need for detail on potential policy options in the implementation phase of the imminent Resources and Waste Strategy for England.
In the report, approaches used until now to increase recycling are reviewed and an investigation into the causes of market failure is explored; alongside a wide range of potential policy measures to enhance the market for recycled materials. A detailed analysis of a short-list of four types of policy measures to increase demand were published:
- Materials taxation
- A fee-rebate (or ‘feebate’) system
- Tradable credits
- The establishment of a single Producer Responsibility organisation.
The report recommends a further, much needed debate of a ‘feebate’ system as highlights this as the ‘most attractive policy option’, rejecting materials taxation based on the complexity of delivery. It goes on to suggest that a single-compliance scheme and single-organisation for producer responsibility would be complementary to any policy option used to increase demand for PCR.
The feebate scheme would comprise a levy on all packaging which is refunded to organisations demonstrating their use of PCR through the number of certified credits they hold.
Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive of the Resource Association said:
“All parts of the resources supply chain for too long have talked in general terms about the need to boost demand for recycled material and use demand-pull measures to develop the markets to assist in reaching higher recycling targets.
Dr Lyndsey Dodd, Head of Marine Policy at WWF-UK, said:
“Our oceans are choking on plastic, 90% of the world’s sea birds have fragments of plastic in their stomach. Despite the public outcry, more products are being made with virgin, or new, plastic than with recycled plastic.
“A new system is needed – where a levy on all packaging is used to reward those using the most recycled material – to incentivise the use of recycled material and support the target announced in the budget for a minimum of 30% recycled plastic in products. Nature is on life support, and we must act now to save it. “