A presentation was given to the Joint Executive Committee on International, National and Local Authority waste-related stories that have been in the media.
International Waste News
The Joint Executive Committee were advised that the US National Waste and Recycling Association has written to Donald Trump urging him to raise China’s ban on imported recyclables during trade talks with the Chinese government.
The NWRA president said that they believe that there are better ways for the Chinese to achieve their goal of improving their environment than to place what he described as ‘unrealistic restrictions’ on recycling imports.
The letter also states that, for decades, the US has exported one-third of its recyclables to China in a ‘mutually beneficial relationship’.
National Waste News
The Joint Executive Committee were advised that the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy and Transport (ADEPT) has called for a fundamental review of how waste services are managed, saying that it supports the drive to make producers pay.
Launching their policy position on the resources and waste strategy, the association has outlined its support for an extended responsibility scheme. The president of the ADEPT noted that:
· Local authorities have to make tough decisions about where the budget is spent,
· But that in order to provide the waste and recycling services that people expect the current systems need to change,
· And responsibility for managing packaging waste must lie with the producer – which will not only reduce the burden on local authorities but will also provide incentives for long term investment and give markets greater certainty
ADEPT also wants to see greater investment in the UK’s own waste processing capacity – particularly given the current uncertainty across the market globally.
The Joint Executive Committee were advised that in response to the publication of the strategy and consultation on a deposit return scheme, the Association of Convenience Stores has said that a manual scheme ‘won’t work’ in convenience stores.
The consultation exercise proposes a network of reverse vending machines and manual return points, which would be hosted by retailers. The ACS has previously argued that manual returns would cause a number of issues for small retailers and are not a practical solution.
The Joint Executive Committee were also advised that following a hugely successful trial in 2018, Highland Spring has now launched a nationwide retailer roll-out of a 100% recycled and recyclable plastic eco bottle.
During the trial, shoppers expressed a desire for more eco bottles, and following the national launch, Highland Spring said that more 100% recycled and recyclable bottles will follow later in the year, including a kids Eco Bottle which has been designed to help young people understand more about healthy hydration and responsible recycling.
The results of the trial showed that shoppers responded well to the new eco bottle, with no negative reaction to the appearance of the recycled plastic material, and environmental awareness emerged as one of the key factors in people choosing to purchase the bottle.
The Joint Executive Committee were reminded that Walkers recently launched the UK’s first nationwide crisp packet recycling scheme and in January 2019, Marks and Spencer went one step further with the news that they are launching a new plastics initiative to enable customers to bring back non-recyclable plastic packaging.
Unlike the Walkers scheme, which only targets crisp packets, this scheme includes a range of plastic packaging in addition to crisp packets, including black plastic food trays and sauce sachets. M&S has pledged to give the plastic collected a ‘new life’ by recycling it into store fittings, furniture and playground equipment for schools.
The scheme was initially launched in eight M&S stores in the South of England, but the scheme will be rolled out to stores nationally by the end of this year.
M&S has said that as a business, the company is committed to reducing the amount of plastic we use and have already started phasing-out non-recyclable packaging from their products.
RESOLVED – That the Joint Executive Committee noted the contents of the report.