The Environment Bill, first put to parliament in October 2019 has been re-introduced. The Bill 2020 sets out how the UK plans to protect and improve the natural environment in the country. Its proposals indicate that manufacturers will need to shift to reusing more and more materials, perhaps more quickly than first anticipated.
One of the Bill’s elements is to set a new direction for resources and waste management. Introducing the Bill the Government stated: “The resources and waste measures in the Bill will help move our economy away from the ‘take, make, use, throw’ system to a more circular economic model. Our ambition is to keep resources in use for longer and ensure that we extract the maximum value we can from them.”
It also stated: “We will also modernise the government’s existing powers to set producer responsibility obligations, extending them to the prevention of waste and redistribution of surplus products and materials. To continue reducing plastic pollution across the country, the Environment Bill will enable the creation of new charges for other single-use plastic items, similar to the carrier bag charge, which will incentivise a shift towards the use of more reusable items. We are also taking powers to establish deposit return schemes that further incentivise consumers to reduce litter and recycle more.”
“Our industry has a shared ambition with government to tackle the issue of plastic in the environment and knows that more must be done to drive up recycling across all materials.”
Helen Munday, the Food & Drink Federation’s chief scientific officer said: “The Bill heralds a much-needed overhaul in environmental legislation, the first of its kind for over twenty years. As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, food and drink takes its environmental footprint seriously. FDF’s recent report shows the huge progress made since we first launched Ambition 2025.
“FDF member companies have made great strides in minimising packaging waste and carbon emissions, while protecting food safety and quality. Manufacturers have delivered a reduction in food waste of over 30% on a per capita basis since 2011 and halved their CO2 emissions since 1990, having reduced total emissions by 53.2%. Our industry has a shared ambition with government to tackle the issue of plastic in the environment and knows that more must be done to drive up recycling across all materials. We urge governments across the UK to ensure an integrated approach on the measures proposed in this Bill to boost the UK’s recycling system. This should include bringing an end to inconsistent collections which are currently hampering much-needed investment in infrastructure.
“We are particularly encouraged by the proposal to establish a fully independent Office for Environmental Protection, and welcome the inclusion of climate change within its remit as part of government’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The UK must be at the forefront of international efforts to produce more, from less, and with less impact.”