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10 March 2021

Producers and councils join forces on ‘public confidence in recycling charter’

INCPEN Member News

29 March 2021

Berry sustainability report shows PCR boost

29 March 2021

P&G to reduce virgin plastic in packaging design phase

26 March 2021

How we’re investing to grow and transform our business through CCEP Ventures

26 March 2021

Sainsbury's to remove 18.5 million plastic straws from circulation

25 March 2021

Nestlé to use less plastic packaging in confectionery sharing bags

24 March 2021

Damm and Ball launch world's first aluminium stewardship initiative certified beverage cans

24 March 2021

Adapting means winning

24 March 2021

Nestlé Ireland chieves Investors in Diversity Gold accreditation

24 March 2021

Tesco sets out its climate “manifesto” ahead of crucial COP26 Conference in Glasgow

23 March 2021

Ardagh and Bragg launch beverage bottle

23 March 2021

Berry global expands its capabilities with investment in European nonwovens capacity, providing added flexible capacity for biodegradable content for hard surface disinfectant wipes

23 March 2021

Coca-Cola HBC ranked global #1 beverage company in sustainability

23 March 2021

The future of food packaging

23 March 2021

Nestlé becomes a headline partner of Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean 2021

22 March 2021

Vaccines, Value and Partnership: How Covid-19 is shaping sustainability

22 March 2021

Essity starts testing of first CO2 emission-free large-scale paper production

22 March 2021

How can digitalization deliver circular and sustainable manufacturing? - Think future. Think circle.

22 March 2021

Nestlé Waters’ Buxton site first in UK to secure top score for water stewardship

19 March 2021

Essity launches menstrual cup in the Nordics under its Libresse brand

19 March 2021

Ocado ditches plastic in brand refresh

19 March 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Boots vaccination site at Uxbridge

18 March 2021

Coca-Cola HBC AG publishes 2020 integrated annual report, Adapt to Win

18 March 2021

Nestlé is the first UK advertiser to use recycled paper in OOH advertising

17 March 2021

Danone launches UK’s 1st formula milk in an innovative, pre-measured tab format

17 March 2021

Boots and The Hygiene Bank join forces to tackle hygiene poverty as schools reopen

16 March 2021

Dow receives five 2021 Manufacturing Leadership Awards

16 March 2021

Experiment reveals kettle handle contains more bacteria than the toilet seat

15 March 2021

Nestlé launches bio-based lids and scoops made from renewable resource as part of packaging and net-zero commitments

12 March 2021

Proposed acquisition of Coca-Cola Amatil: Scheme booklet registered with ASIC

10 March 2021

Tesco to launch UK’s biggest network of recycling points for soft plastic

10 March 2021

Aldi to fund 60 produce industry apprenticeships over the next two years

10 March 2021

Turbocharging M& M&S announces the online launch of 'Brands at M&S' this spring

10 March 2021

Aldi expands rum range after £15 rum named one of the best in the world

9 March 2021

Unilever says no to ‘normal’ with new positive beauty vision

8 March 2021

M&S expands international online business to over 100 markets

8 March 2021

Tesco to sell unwashed potatoes in order to cut down on UK’s number one most wasted food

5 March 2021

CCEP launches initiative for carbon neutral manufacturing at two of its sites as part of its ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2040

5 March 2021

Tesco makes ambitious new commitments to support healthy, sustainable diets

4 March 2021

Coca-Cola HBC supports the establishment of the institute of cellular therapy in Greece

4 March 2021

Safeguarding the Costa brothers' secret recipe

4 March 2021

Dow signs MoU to establish South China Specialties Hub

4 March 2021

We remain committed to our sustainability goals - Annual Report published

4 March 2021

Plastipak is named one of America’s best midsize employers by Forbes

4 March 2021

RAP unveils hot new website showcase

4 March 2021

Sainsbury’s removes around 500 office roles, creating savings to invest in food

4 March 2021

P&G and its brands, like Pantene, Gillette, Ariel, Fairy and Oral B are reducing virgin plastic by design and enable circularity at scale

3 March 2021

Sainsbury’s to forgo business rates relief

3 March 2021

Tesco statement on business rates relief

3 March 2021

P&G advances towards circularity in European operations

3 March 2021

McDonald’s reaches ground-breaking milestone of 100m books given away to families across the UK & Ireland

2 March 2021

Essity publishes its Annual and Sustainability Report for 2020

1 March 2021

Embedding sustainability in everything we do

1 March 2021

Tesco takes action to improve marine sustainability, moving to a Seascape approach for tuna sourcing

Legislation Updates

INCPEN Members (not including Trade Association Group colleagues) have access to view the full legislation library.  Please contact Alison Skuse for access instructions.

UK - Second consultation on DRS delays start to 2024 - 29 March 2021

The Governments of England, Wales and Northern Ireland prefer an “all in” scheme with PET, metal cans and glass beverage packaging covered up to 3 liters, irrespective of content.

The consultation (open until 4-Jun-21) for a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland [Scotland has legislated for its own DRS already] builds on the first DRS consultation and is intended to be considered alongside
  • the new packaging EPR reform consultation
  • the plastic packaging tax contained in the Draft Finance Bill
  • the yet to be published consultation on consistent collection - covering England only.
Here is an analysis of the key proposals of the 100 page/100 question consultation document:-

DRS governance and administration
The ‘Deposit Management Organisation’ (DMO) will be an independent non-profit organisation appointed by competitive tender. The DMO will be legally responsible for:-
  • Meeting collection targets, setting deposit levels, measuring and reporting recycling rates.
  • Financial operations, setting producer/import fees, tracking deposits and financial flows, distributing handling fees for return points.
  • Logistical operations, communications and public awareness campaigns.
DMOs will be funded by three revenue streams: material revenue, producer registration and unredeemed deposits. The consultation requests input on setting registration fees and managing unredeemed deposits.

The consultation seeks stakeholder feedback on the technical aspects of appointing a DMO, and how to best measure its success.

DRS scope
: Two options were put forward in the first consultation: “all in” with no restrictions on size of containers (backed by 69% of respondents) and “on the go” which restricts containers in scope to those less than 750ml and excludes multi-packs (backed by 15% of respondents). The “all in” scheme is the desired outcome, but the net cost to business is estimated at GBP 266m p.a. compared to GBP 183m p.a. for the “on the go” model.

The consultation also seeks feedback on whether the cap of a bottle should be included in the DRS, as well as an upper size limit (3 litres is proposed). The Welsh government prefers an 'all in' system, while the English and Northern Irish governments remain undecided.  

Materials: The governments favour a scope based on materials rather than products (e.g. soft drinks or alcohol). After the first consultation, three materials are put forward, each with strong support:
  • PET bottles (94%)
  • Steel and aluminium cans (94%)
  • Glass bottles (90%) (a contentious issue as the inclusion of glass will significantly increase operating costs, but is projected to return greater financial benefits over a 10-year period).
The Government proposes to exclude high density polyethylene, beverage cartons, sachets and pouches, and disposable single-use cups.

Participants: Producers and importers who POM branded beverage products (including retailers selling own brand drinks).  Manufacturers of unfilled beverage bottles are not obligated. The consultation also considers who should be responsible for reporting containers POM – producers/importers, retailers, or both.

The Governments propose:-
  • a 90% overall collection target in year 3, with 4 options for a phased target approach in year 1 and 2: 70%, 80%, or 75%, 80%, or 75%, 85%, or 80%, 85%;
  • no material specific collection targets but a minimum collection rate of 85% per material is expected;
  • to not impose a recycling target on the DMO but an obligation to ensure collected waste is passed on to reprocessors or exporter via an evidence-based system.
Return points and take-back
Legislation will set out an obligation on all retailers selling in-scope drinks containers to accept all DRS container returns to their store and refund the deposit amount to the consumer when an item is returned. Two main return mechanisms are proposed: Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) or manual return points. Retailers will agree with the DMO what method they will use; this is deliberately being left open to allow for technological innovations in the future.

Funding of return points: DMOs may purchase and lease RVMs, or provide guidance to retailers on what RVMs are suitable. In either scenario, the DMO will be liable to cover the initial costs of RVMs.

Online retailers
  • will have to ensure the deposit price is added to in scope products, and
  • may be obligated to offer like-for-like take-back. Three options are put forward:
    • Option 1 – to offer a takeback service;
    • Option 2 – use a de minimis based approach to obligate qualifying retailers selling in-scope containers to offer a takeback service;
    • Option 3 – no obligation placed on retailers selling in-scope containers to offer a takeback service.
Labelling: A mandatory requirement for all in scope drink products contain labelling to inform consumers and prevent fraud. Stakeholder feedback is sought on various aspects of implementing this.

In addition, technical details regarding the conditions of containers for takeback, retailer exemptions, the role of the hospitality industry, planning permission for RVMs, and voluntary return points are also being considered.

The interface between Local Authorities, obligated participants, and other plastic producers
Local Authorities (as well as producers under reformed EPR) may be financially disadvantaged when DRS containers end up in municipal waste streams.  The relationship between local authorities and producers in the context of MSW waste collection is explored in the consultation, with three main options presented:
  • Option 1: Do nothing. Local authorities redeem deposits of DRS containers in their collection streams;
  • Option 2: The DMO makes payments for DRS containers in all local authority waste streams (preferred option);
  • Option 3: Hybrid option. The DMO pays a deposit value on containers that are returned and any additional DRS containers in local authority waste streams are covered by a funding formula.
In Dec-18 the Resource and Waste Strategy for England set out a series of “immediate priority” reforms in response to various criticisms of the existing packaging EPR scheme.  Four consultations (for packaging EPR, DRS, consistent household collection and a plastic packaging tax) were launched in Feb-19. The consultation’s response showed strong support for fundamental changes to the packaging regime and the introduction of a DRS, and also backed the plastic packaging tax and consistent household collection. The forthcoming Environment Bill will provide the legal framework for these reforms and consolidate British environmental policy post-Brexit.

UK - Second consultation on EPR - 29 March 2021

On 24-Mar-21, a second consultation on EPR reform was launched. It is open until 4-Jun-21. Policy makers appear to prefer a single, not-for-profit, industry controlled and Government appointed “Scheme Administrator” (SA) that would charge recycling fees to ‘fillers/brandholders’ and compensate municipalities for the full costs of managing packaging waste. This regime is to replace the current EPR regime under which the entire packaging chain – packaging producers, ‘fillers/brandholders’ and distributors purchase – mostly through dozens of competing PROs – Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN) from reprocessors that finance only about 10% of the full costs of packaging waste management.

The consultation on packaging EPR reform is UK wide –undertaken by the Governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and builds on feedback provided in the first such consultation. The packaging EPR reform consultation is intended to be considered alongside:-
  • the plastic packaging tax - also UK wide - and contained in the Draft Finance Bill
  • the new DRS Consultation - covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not Scotland, which has recently regulated its own DRS
  • the yet-to-be published consultation on consistent collection - covering England only. Due to the interrelated nature of the policies put forward, the decision to delay this key consultation has caused concern by industry and municipalities
Here is an analysis of the key proposals of the 213 page/100 questions EPR reform consultation document.

Both EPR models proposed feature a UK-wide single management organisation
Two approaches are suggested, but in both only one organisation is responsible for setting recycling fees and paying for packaging waste management services.

Option 1: An appointed ‘Single Management Organisation’ (SMO), also referred to as ‘Scheme Administrator’ (SA). This proposal was backed by 43% of respondents to first consultation. 62% of respondents backed a non-for-profit, sector-led organisation to act as a SMO.
  • The functions of the SMO and performance targets would be contractually agreed with Government via EPR Regulations. The SMO’s key responsibilities would include calculating waste management costs, setting modulated fee rates, distributing payments to local authorities (LAs) etc, implementing systems and competition across the value chain, driving cost efficient services, and identifying infrastructure needs, solutions and investments.
  • ‘Compliance Schemes’ (CS) would not be required under the model but could assist with data management, reporting, etc.
Option 2: Appointed ‘Scheme Administrator’ (SA) and approved ‘Compliance Schemes’ (CS). This proposal was backed by 27% of respondents to first consultation and 78% thought this would require a packaging authority as the SA.
  • The SA would be appointed by government. Key responsibilities of SA would include determining waste management costs, setting modulated fees, administering payments to LAs, providing oversight for national communication and allocation of funding. The SA would inform compliance schemes of their obligations and hence the costs they would need to recover from producer members.
  • CS would require Government approval. They could legally assume certain EPR obligations from their producer members.
A full comparison is provided in Annex 4. The government has not stated an official preference, but would prefer a UK-wide approach (i.e. option 1). The government agree that in either option, the SA should be a not-for-profit that is “owned and operated by the value chain”. It proposes the appointment of the SA would be through an open, competitive process, and would be made for an initial 8-10 year period, with a 5 year extension subject to performance reviews.

Proposed EPR regime to increase costs to producers from GBP 1-5 per capita to GBP 40
A key pillar of the EPR reform is a transition towards producers covering full net costs of managing the packaging they POM (not just recycling and recovery costs (approximately 10% of the total) as per the current system).  A breakdown of these proposed costs is provided, which can be put into two broad categories:
  • Operational costs: to collect, manage, treat and dispose of packaging waste, including investments in capital infrastructure or innovation (that leads to increased performance).
  • Scheme costs: to meet targets and reach desired outcomes. These will include communication and public awareness measures, efficiency reviews, data gathering and reporting, performance incentives, and supporting LAs with administration.
Producer fees will be modulated to incentivise recyclability etc. Where producers can prove separate management of waste, equivalent amounts can be offset from their financial obligation.

DEFRA estimates that net producer costs will be GBP 2.7b (GBP 40 per capita – from currently about GBP 1 to 5*) in the first year of full implementation (2025) with £1bn of this related to packaging waste collected from households, £1.5bn for packaging waste collected from businesses, and £200m for the management of bin and ground packaging litter. It is hoped that this cost transfer (from tax payer to producers) will incentivise more sustainable packaging choices.

Proposed recycling targets exclude packaging subject to DRS
Recycling targets for six packaging materials (plastic, cardboard, steel, aluminium, glass and wood) will be set initially until 2030. Additional material targets will be considered in 2025 to respond to effects of the reformed EPR scheme, DRS and plastic packaging tax. Closed loop and reuse/refill targets will be proposed in 2023, for 2025 implementation.

There will be no overall recycling targets for each year.  Current targets will remain in place until 2023.  

Other notable points:
Phasing in of the reformed EPR regime
: The Government will start procurement in late 2021 to appoint the Scheme Administrator in early 2023, when the first phase of the reformed EPR regime is scheduled to come into force, enabling the first payments to Local Authorities for household waste. Phase 2 will begin in 2024 when further EPR elements (modulated fees, litter management and business payments) would be introduced and the UK-wide DRS (not including Scotland) would become operational.

Scope and major demarcations: Government intends create new categories of packaging in addition to primary, secondary and tertiary (yet-to-be determined).. 

Single entity responsible, rather than shared responsibility of chain:  Response to the previous consultation saw good support (59%) for a single point of obligation for producers (i.a. single producer responsible for costs of single piece of packaging, rather than packaging producers, ‘fillers/brandholders’ and distributors as currently). 72% supported this obligation being placed on brand owners (including retailers). In this vein, the consultation document proposes six types of entities to assume producer obligations : Brand owners, importers, distributors, online marketplaces, sellers (direct to end-users), and service providers (supplying reusable packaging). All apart from sellers would face a “waste management (operational) cost obligation”. All apart from brand owners would have to separately report packaging POM.

De minimis threshold : Current threshold of GBP 2m turnover and 50 tonnes of packaging annually has resulted in 1.6m tonnes (14% of total volumes POM) not being accounted for. Government does not wish to burden ‘small producers’ but wants to close the gap and so suggests three options:  Option 1: halving the de minimis thresholds (to GBP 1m and 25 tonnes POM annually); Option 2: obligating distributors for unfilled business packaging below the existing (or a reduced) de minimis threshold; Option 3 (Preferred by Government): Obligating manufactures and importers of unfilled packaging sold to businesses below the existing (or reduced) de minimis threshold.

There is no intention to align EPR thresholds with that of the plastic packaging tax or DRS.

Labelling: A mandatory labelling scheme is being considered (with wide support from industry) for all primary packaging, multi-layered and ‘shipment’ (from online marketplaces etc.) packaging. Packaging in scope of the DRS would be exempt, as would all secondary and tertiary packaging. There are two options proposed: 1) use of approved labels that meet government criteria (governments stated preference), or 2) a single labelling scheme (to be managed via the Scheme Administrator).

UK - Plastic Packaging Tax from April 2022 - 29 March 2021

The tax will charge producers GBP 200 (EUR 232) per tonne of plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, but the calculation methodology and evidence requirements are still unknown.

A new tax on plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic was first announced in the 2018 Autumn Budget, after a 2017 call for evidence into using the tax system to tackle single use plastics (SUPs) received strong support. The Government launched a consultation in Feb-19 which sought stakeholder input on the principles of the tax. In Nov-20, Draft Legislation and a policy paper was published which set out the key details of the proposal. An updated policy paper was published on 3-Mar-21, updating terms of reference in the “summary of impacts” to reflect new information provided by the 2021 Budget, and containing amendments based on a Nov-20 technical consultation; there were no significant changes to the key provisions of the tax. The Draft Plastic Packaging Tax was reintroduced via the Finance Bill 2021, which provides the legislative framework for the tax. The Finance Bill is currently going through its second reading, after which it will progress to the committee stage, where ministers will be able to table and vote on further amendments.

Key provisions:-
Tax rate
: GBP 200 (EUR 228) per tonne for packaging that is predominantly plastic by weight that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. Plastic packaging ‘components’ will include any products that contain more plastic by weight than any other substance, and are designed for the containment, protection, handling, delivery, or presentation of goods at any point in the supply chain, regardless of the final use of the packaging (e.g. by business users or household consumers).

Scope of packaging subject to the tax
  • Domestically produced and imported plastic packaging, filled or unfilled [Note: No definitions for filled or unfilled packaging are provided]
  • Transport packaging for export, filled or unfilled;
Exclusions from the scope: Imported transport packaging, exported packaging (filled or unfilled), and medical packaging.
Entities liable to pay the tax will have to register with HM Revenue and Customs within 30 days of exceeding the 10 tonnes POM threshold.

De-minimis exemption: Producers that POM less than 10 tonnes of obligated packaging annually

A Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) Statement must be provided on invoices to business customers.

Key areas that are yet to be regulated
The biggest uncertainty is the 30% recycled content figure and how it will be calculated, or how producers (and particularly importers) can prove the amount of recycled content in their plastic packaging. The exact methodology used to determine this – or the evidence required to prove it – is yet to be determined.  Art. 47.5a of the Finance Bill states “the Commissioners may, by regulations, make provisions about the methodology to be used, or the information or evidence required” to satisfy them that plastic packaging contains 30% recycled plastic. This issue will be particularly complex for imported plastic packaging.

It is still unclear exactly how the Government will identify obligated parties if they do not register their liability themselves within 30 days of meeting the 10 tonne POM threshold. Art. 44 states that the person who produces the plastic packaging is liable to pay the tax;  for imported plastic packaging, the person “on whose behalf the packaging is imported” is liable to pay the tax. The Bill does however enable fines of up to GBP 20,000 (EUR 23,275) and 7 years imprisonment for ‘fraudulent evasion or misstatements’.

Overall, the Bill is focused on establishing the plastic tax within the UK’s tax regime - operational aspects most relevant to producers are yet to be legislated for. Throughout the text the phrase “the Commissioners may by regulations make provisions about” is used 15 times, so we anticipate a variety of supplementary legislation before the Apr-22 start date. Any additional regulations will likely be influenced by the results of the recently announced Packaging EPR consultations.

Spain - Balearic Island - Extensive SUP measures entered into force on 20 Mar - 24 March 2021

On 18-Mar-21, the Government of the Balearic Islands explained the delay of introducing measures banning or imposing requirements on certain SUP products and packaging, which are stipulated in the region's Feb-19 Law 8/2019 on Waste and Contaminated Soils.  The same press release re-confirmed the:-
  • postponement of the deadlines by 78 days: From the 1-Jan-21 to 20-Mar-21;
  • non-application of the prohibition of the use of single-serving size food products by the HORECA sector (Art. 23.1.d) due conflicts with COVID measures.
On 12-Mar-21, the Government launched three Interpretive Guides about Law 8/2019.

Miquel Mir, environment minister of the Balearic Islands - who sees the islands as ‘pioneers in Spain and in Europe in terms of progression in waste management’ - announced on 20-Mar-21 that around fifty inspectors from the consumer affairs, trade and tourism directorates have been trained to monitor compliance with the new measures.

SUP measures of Law 8/2019
Article 23 of Law 8/2019 introduced from 20-Mar-21 - rather than 1-Jan-21 – the following SUP measures, applicable also to distance sales:-
  • All plastic bags, including light and very light bags may not be provided free of charge and must be made of at least 50% recycled and non-fragmentable plastic (70% by 2024).
  • Single-use lightweight plastic bags are banned. Very light compostable plastic containers or bags may be distributed only for food products to prevent waste and / or for reasons of hygiene or safety.
  • Non-packaging SUP plates, cutlery, bowls, cups and food trays are banned unless they are compostable. All compostable products must be labelled to enable collection with compostable household waste.
  • The HORECA (Hotel, Restaurant, Catering) sector may not use single-serve food packs (with exceptions) and tableware for the consumption of food and drinks on the same premises.
  • Only beverage straws, cotton bud sticks and candy sticks made of compostable materials are permitted;
  • Only compostable or easily recyclable coffee capsules and other items used in coffee machines may be used. Producers opting for recyclable products must set up an authorised EPR system.
  • Wet wipes must be disposable in a way that does not affect the sewer system and their packaging and POS must i.a. warn users of the difficulty of managing waste from these products [Note: On 23-Mar-21, the Government of the Balearic Islands and the cosmetic sector launched a campaign for the correct disposal of wipes].
Measures on other products of Law 8/2019
Article 23 introduced measures on other products, again also applicable to distance sales:
  • From 20-Mar-21 it
    • banned a) products containing micro-plastics and nano-plastics; b) non-reusable and non-refillable printer and photocopier cartridges and toners; c) lighters that do not guarantee at least 3,000 ignitions;
    • required producers of compliant products to set up an authorised EPR system that guarantees their recycling.
  • From 1-Jan-25, it
    • bans non-rechargeable razors;
    • requires rechargeable razors to be made of recyclable materials;
    • requires producers to set up an authorized EPR system that guarantees their recycling.
Packaging prevention measures of Law 8/2019
Article 25 introduced packaging prevention measures:
  • Public procurement must favor reusable packaging and encourage their prevention.
  • From 20-Mar-21, beverages may not be distributed in disposable containers in public buildings and facilities. In these locations hygienic and safe drinking water sources must be maintained, or, alternatively, water may be supplied in reusable containers. Cups used must preferably be reusable, or at least compostable.
  • At events, including sport, by or supported (sponsorship, etc) by a public administration,
    • alternative packaged beverages and disposable cups must be provided,
    • a deposit system must be implemented for containers and cups and
    • access to unpackaged water or reusable bottles must be guaranteed.
  • The HORECA sector must always offer consumers unpackaged (tap) water, free of charge, provided that the water supply company guarantees its suitability for human consumption.
  • Plastic rings or other secondary group packaging for beverage cans or bottles may not be distributed, which, in any case, must be made of biodegradable material and indicate this to the consumer from 20-Mar-21.
Provisions concerning EPR in Law 8/2019
Article 27 describes requirements and processes for obtaining Government authorization by individual compliers, PROs and deposit systems.  Article 28 lists specific requirements for packaging EPR. It notably says that:-
  • EPR in the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands applies to all packaging - sales or primary, group or secondary packaging and transport or tertiary packaging - whether generated in domestic, commercial or industrial settings (Art. 28.1). Note that with reference to Article 28.1 which has been in force since 22-Feb-19, the guidance for retail & distribution notes on p.11 under the heading 'management of commercial and industrial packaging' that 'those responsible for placing packaging on the market have to establish a collection system (individual or collective) authorized by the Government of the Balearic Islands'.  National packaging rules are less clear about packaging waste arising in commercial and industrial sources.
  • producers, respectively PROs, must compensate municipalities for the total costs of packaging waste management, including for the proportional costs of packaging waste that is not collected separately and litter clean up.
  • In Feb-19 and subsequently at least every two years [first time 11-May-21], PROs must carry out a representative and statistically significant analysis of the waste fractions in separately collected household packaging waste.
  • If the objectives set in this law or by the more restrictive state or European regulations are not met in 2020, the Government of the Balearic Islands may establish other complementary systems for the management of packaging waste, such as a DRS.
* In May-20, the Seventh Final Provision of Decree Law 8/2020 postponed the measures until the end of the COVID emergency (determined in national Royal Decree 463/2020).  However, in Oct-20 Decree Law 2/2020 replaced Decree Law 8/2020 and - again in a Seventh Final Provision - reinstated the original version of Law 8/2019 from 20-Oct-20.  Eventually, reports from the Legal Services of the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Territories ‘guaranteed’ a suspension of the deadlines by 78 days.

Belgium/Flanders  - VLAREMA8 may enable online marketplaces to offer 'flat fee model' - 16 March 2021

The draft (24,500 words in 76 articles) is the 8th package of amendments to the 2012 VLAREMA (Flemish acronym for FLemish REgulations on sustainable management of Material cycles and Waste). It partly transposes the CEP. The draft was submitted to TRIS on 25-Jan-21 for comments until 26-Apr-21.

The draft most notably would:-
  • allow online marketplace operators to assume the EPR take-back obligations of 3rd party sellers on their platform, thus enabling the ‘flat fee model’ proposed by Amazon and rejected by European WEEE Registers Network;
  • newly require a financial guarantee for all types of batteries.
In more detail, the draft proposes 
  • that online marketplaces administrators must prevent producers who have not joined a PRO from selling to private households. However, the marketplace administrator may allow producers not having joined a PRO to sell to private households if the administrator assumes the EPR obligations for the seller. From 1-Jan-22 the administrator must submit - by 1-Mar each year - to OVAM a list of all producers having sold to private households through the online market place in the previous year [Art.19*]
  • to require a guarantee when placing a battery or accumulator on the market, irrespective of battery type (portable, etc) or compliance choice (PRO, individual) to finance collection and recycling. The guarantee may be a collective guarantee (participation in forward financing PRO or in a guarantee fund managed by the PRO) or an individual guarantee (blocked account pledged to OVAM, etc). A guarantee fund is managed by one or several PROs. The amount of the guarantee is to be approved by OVAM. The costs of managing waste batteries from producers
    • no longer in the market (orphan products) are to be managed by the 'various guarantee funds in proportion to the guarantees already collected for batteries and of the same product category'. If these are insufficient, the financing responsibility will lie with all manufacturers participating  in these guarantee funds in proportion to their market shares in the relevant battery categories;
    • that cannot be identified, waste management costs are to be borne by the guarantee funds and producers that provide individual guarantees [Art. 27**].
  • to transpose the CEP's minimum criteria for PROs [Art. 20***];
  • to introduce EPR for mattresses;
  • to allow the passing on of municipal litter clean up costs to PROs and individual compliers in conjunction with the provision of the amendment to the Flemish 'Materials Decree' adopted by the Flemish Parliament on 24-Feb-21 [Art. 17 amending Article§ 2)].
  • to introduce an obligation to exclude bio-waste from residual waste at all households and businesses from the end of 2023 [Art. 38 amending Art.4.3.1]
The Draft VLAREMA8 is complemented by an amendment to the ‘Materials Decree’ which the Flemish parliament adopted the text on 24-Feb-21. The Decree contains broader and enabling provisions as regards waste prevention (Art. 9), litter financing (Art. 11) and minimum requirements for EPR (Art. 12).  It continues to omit any references to packaging to prevent overlaps with Interregional Cooperation Agreement, CEP amended in Jul-20.

In late 2021, the Government plans to start work on ‘VLAREMA 9’ to implement the CEAP 2.0.

Portugal - Drafts propose measures on package design/labelling and e-commerce targeted - 16 March 2021

A draft Decree-Law, formulated by the Portuguese Environment Agency, proposes to further regulate labelling on all packaging and obligate online platforms selling EPR-subjected products to check the compliance status of their suppliers.

The draft Decree-Law, amending Decree-Law 152-D/2017 (on EPR), was submitted to TRIS on 23-Feb-21 for comments ending 25-May-21. It follows the publication of Decree-Law 102-D/2020 – a bundle of three legislative texts implementing the EU CEP in its entirety.

The draft Decree-Law proposes the following changes:-
  • New packaging labelling requirements on all packaging types:
    • All packaging must contain material labels to indicate the type of the packaging material(s) used (in accordance with EU Decision 97/129/EC) within 2 years of enforcement of the Decree-Law [Note: Non-reusable primary packaging originating from other EU member states or third countries that have been labelled with alternative markings at origin are permitted to retain those markings].
    • Recyclable primary and secondary packaging is to be marked (where size allows) with an indication (presented either by iconography or words or both) of its appropriate destination – namely the colour of the applicable recycling bin. Further details are to be set in an upcoming Ordinance which is to be published before 31-Dec-22 and enforced before 2024.  From the entry into force of this requirement, the ‘tidy man’ symbol will be prohibited from being displayed on all packaging.
    • Reusable packaging and DRS-subjected packaging is to be labelled in accordance with upcoming Ordinances to be published before 31-Dec-22 and enforced before 2024.
  • Online marketplaces/e-commerce platforms (intermediaries) are required to ensure that sellers of all EPR-subjected products are a) registered with the producer register (SIRER) and b) affiliated with a PRO for the management of their EOL products. The platforms will be required to inquire about the compliance status of each seller as prerequisite for registration and use of the platforms and conduct annual check-ups.
  • WEEE treatment operators are required to obtain certifications according to EU standard NP EN 506-251:2014-2017 and annually demonstrate compliance with the eligibility requirements to the licensing entity.
An unrelated draft Law (675/XIV/2), proposed by the Left Bloc party on 11-Feb-21 and currently before the Commission for Environment, Energy and Spatial Planning, aims to: -
  • significantly restrict the volume and weight of sales (primary) packaging deemed non-essential for the use, safety and conservation of the products;
  • prohibit the use of group (secondary) packaging, unless demonstrated to be essential;
  • only permit the use of transport (tertiary) packaging if it is: -
    • essential to avoid physical damage during the handling and transportation of the product, and
    • made of reusable or recyclable materials (unless other materials are proven necessary for the movement and transport of the product).

News from Industry

  • Targeting success: why the UK needs a new vision for resource use; While higher product standards and recycling incentives are important to achieve a resource efficient, circular economy, without clear and ambitious targets to reduce resource use itself,  the UK’s waste problem will continue mount up. In this Green Alliance report for the Circular Economy Task Force, we call for a more ambitious and systemic approach to resource use that learns the lessons from the UK’s world leading governance system for climate change. 
  • It’s time to link food, nature and climate policy; A recent letter, organised by Nourish Scotland and signed by a number of organisations (including Feedback) and city governments, has asked COP26 President Alok Sharma to clear some space for food system debates on the agenda at the Glasgow climate summit this year. As the letter points out, the intimate links between nature, cutting and storing carbon, and food production, are not receiving the attention they deserve.
  • Tethered caps, paper straws and more renewables for Tetra Pak; Those caps are all planned to become available as a plant-based option, made from sugarcane-based polymers. The first one to be released on the market is the HeliCap 26 Pro closure. This product features a screw and flip concept with a self-locking hinge, securing food protection while providing convenience.
  • Report: The UK must set target to halve resource consumption; The government’s 2018 resources and waste strategy promised to put England on track to a resource efficient, circular economy. But, in the years since, there has been little progress and no targets set to achieve this, says think tank Green Alliance. It says the government continues to pursue policies focused on tackling ‘individual high profile waste streams’, particularly plastic items like microbeads, plastic bags and straws, instead of addressing the ‘root’ of the waste problem: overconsumption of resources.
  • Over half a million tonnes of recycling rejected due to contamination – LGA; Non-recyclable materials being placed in the recycling bin contributed to more than half a million tonnes of household recycling being rejected at the point of sorting in 2019/20, the Local Government Association says (LGA).
  • DS Smith calls for brands to focus on eco-friendly online shopping; DS Smith has released new data that shows a surge in demand for fully recyclable and more sustainable packaging options for e-commerce.
  • The ultra low emission zone expansion will cement London’s legacy as a clean air leader; The pandemic has revealed the consequences of health inequity. We must learn from this by enabling everyone to use greener transport and ensuring we all have clean air to breathe, regardless of who we are and where we live.
  • Stores lose #27bn in sales over lockdowns; “Retail sales fell for the second consecutive month in February, and non-food stores saw their fourteenth month of decline with a massive 25% drop. UK stores have now lost a whopping £27 billion from lost sales during the three lockdowns."
  • Decade long partnership results in recycling success; A 10-year partnership between Nestlé Waters UK, plastics recycling charity RECOUP, High Peak Borough Council and Alliance Environmental Services (AES), has seen recycling success in Buxton. The long-term investment and collaboration have delivered many initiatives including school education, roadshows, litter picking and eye-catching bins on the streets of the town.
  • New project to help councils in England and France become more circular; BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy is an innovative cross-border project led by Essex County Council and aimed at helping local authorities in England and France transition to a circular economy. The new project, funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England programme, involves partner organisations across the local government, higher education and private sectors in England and France working in collaboration to increase recycling rates, reduce waste, create new jobs and encourage lasting behaviour change.
  • Czechs lead the charge against EU’s ‘do no harm’ green criteria; The environment ministers of Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic have criticised the constraints imposed by the “do no significant harm” principle when it comes to EU funding. Others like Denmark, meanwhile, defend strict limits on fossil fuel spending in the EU’s recovery plan.
  • Defra launches EPR and DRS consultations; Consultations for extended producer responsibility (EPR) and a deposit return scheme (DRS) have been launched by Defra, with concerns from industry and NGOs over the scope of the proposals.
  • Mars Food to roll out new mono-PP material for rice packs; The brand, soon to be rebranded as Ben’s Original, will initially pilot the new material, which has been developed with Amcor. Mars Food said that the packs will be available in Tesco stores from mid-April.
  • Greiner Packaging creates recyclable yogurt multi-packs with Project Snap; Over the past two years, following requests from UK retailers, Greiner Packaging has replaced yogurt multi-packs made from polystyrene (PS) with polypropylene (PP) and the company said ‘Project Snap’ has now successfully recreated the ‘snap’ which consumers love.
  • Highland Spring launches large-format 10-litre packs; Highland Spring, is making it even easier for shoppers to stay hydrated across a whole range of occasions with the launch of a new 10L Hydration Pack – a first for UK retail.
  • “Ground-breaking” technology to recycle all forms of plastic waste; Construction has started on Mura Technology’s “world’s first” commercial-scale plant to use its “ground-breaking” hydrothermal process, able to recycle all forms of plastic waste and provide the raw ingredients for a sustainable circular plastic economy. HydroPRS™ (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution) is a revolutionary advanced recycling process designed to tackle plastic that cannot currently be recycled and instead ends up polluting the natural environment.
  • Construction starts on Scotland’s first biomethane refuelling station; CNG Fuels has started building Scotland’s first public access renewable biomethane HGV refuelling station, the company announced today (25 March).
    The station, near Glasgow, will refuel up to 450 lorries a day when it opens in November, enabling HGVs to make low-carbon deliveries across most of Scotland.
  • Changing the way we do deliveries will be good for cities, businesses and people; This post is by Angela Hultberg, head of sustainable mobility at IKEA Retail (Ingka Group).  E-commerce is soaring. It already was pre-pandemic, and during 2020 it has risen to entirely new levels. Online shopping has the potential to be the more sustainable choice, avoiding emissions from going to the store, or even several stores. But is that potential realised today?
  • Industry support for keeping glass bottles out of a DRS; Over 20 businesses and organisations from across the glass packaging supply chain have today written to the Environment Secretary calling for glass beverage recycling to remain as part of household collections in the future, and not in a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).
  • Circularity Scotland appointed as Scotland DRS administrator; Circularity Scotland Limited – of which the British Soft Drinks Association is a member – has been appointed to implement and operate Scotland’s new Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). The Scottish Government confirmed today (24 March) that it had approved the scheme administrator application of Circularity Scotland, a not-for-profit body which represents a combination of drinks producers, trade associations and retailers.
  • BSDA welcomes Defra consultation on DRS; BSDA Director General, Gavin Partington, said: "We welcome the UK Government’s launch of a consultation on a proposed deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers as a vital step towards a more circular system that will help to increase bottle-to-bottle recycling as well as tackling litter. The drinks bottles and containers used by UK soft drinks manufacturers are all fully recyclable, and the British Soft Drinks Association has long supported the introduction of a well-designed GB-wide DRS."
  • UK Government opens packaging consultation and announces DRS delay; The UK Government has launched a consultation into a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and set out its plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the UK. It has also announced that it foresees a delay to the implementation of a DRS for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, meaning it’s likely a DRS won’t be in place until late 2024 ‘at the earliest’, it says.
  • Big brands support new Festival of Circular Economy; A host of top brands, as well as high-profile speakers and organisations – including eBay, H&M, Microsoft and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – have lent their support to the inaugural Festival of Circular Economy, CIWM has announced. Taking place on 20-21 April, the Festival of Circular Economy is a flagship event organised by CIWM and events experts, Haymarket. CIWM says that it’s a ‘one-of-a-kind virtual festival focusing exclusively on all aspects of the circular economy’.
  • Waitrose bans ‘disposable’ plastic toys given away with children’s magazines; Waitrose will ‘step up’ its efforts to reduce single-use plastic by no longer selling children’s magazines containing disposable toys, the supermarket has announced. The retailer says it was ‘inspired to act’ after hearing about a 10-year-old girl from Gwynedd who has launched her own campaign to persuade publishers to end the practice.
  • The case for clean air zones; Air pollution is a health and environmental emergency in the UK. The most effective way to deal with our dirty air is to roll out clean air zones across the country. These specific areas of cities charge the most polluting vehicles for entering the zone and have been shown to encourage the shift to cleaner vehicles and alternative modes of transport, such as walking or cycling.
  • British Glass tells committee kerb-side recycling is best for glass bottles; The glass association raised concerns at a parliamentary committee that the inclusion of glass beverage packaging in the governments proposed DRS would lead to an increase in plastic packaging and limit the sector’s ability to recycle glass back into bottles and jars.
  • Tens of thousands of retail jobs disappear in the second wave; Responding to the latest ONS jobs figures, which show 3.097m jobs in retail, down 67,000 year-on-year, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, shares her views.
  • China hosts ‘normal’ climate talks despite sanctions blow up; China convened ministers from around the world on Tuesday to discuss the climate — including a handful whose governments launched sanctions against it just a day earlier. The EU, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. imposed sanctions Monday against top leaders for China's repression of its Uyghur Muslim minority, prompting Beijing to retaliate.
  • How Wales is legislating its way to net zero in 2050; Try and write about Wales and climate change without referencing coal. It’s impossible to avoid how coal, steel and slate forged modern Wales. Industrial emissions in South Wales account for over a tenth of the UK’s current carbon footprint. But, with this week’s announcement that Wales intends to make coal history, it’s Wales’ future path to net zero that is now unavoidable, due to a unique and world leading law which applies long term planning to protect current and future generations.
  • Sonoco Consumer Products Europe signs agreement with ACE UK to launch UK-wide paper container recycling; The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK) and Sonoco Europe have signed an agreement which provides a UK-wide recycling solution for paper containers with metal ends, through ACE UK’s Bring Bank collection scheme.
  • Biffa and Yorkshire Water work together to reduce, reuse and recycle; Biffa, the leading sustainable waste management company and Yorkshire Water are working together to turn grit into blocks! The grit produced from Yorkshire Water treatment works is now being reused and recycled instead of going to landfill. Since April 2019 6,300 tonnes have been processed into reusable material.
  • Survey shows state of UK plastics recycling ahead of consultations; The Survey highlights that the UK saw a 2% increase in collected household plastics, up to 560kt in 2019. Whilst some would view these slight increases as a demonstration of a positive trend in the collection of plastic materials, actual recycling rates remain stagnant, in part due to the failure in capturing and recycling the significant quantities of plastic film and flexibles from households.
  • Veolia set to produce over 100 million recycled plastic milk bottles each year; Resource management company, Veolia, is set to make a major increase to the amount of recycled plastic used in milk bottles and close the UK to UK recycling loop for the UK dairy industry.
    The project will see over 100 million new recycled bottles created each year by ensuring that they are produced, distributed, consumed, collected, sorted, washed & reprocessed and made into bottles in the UK.
  • Government unveils new Waste Prevention Programme for England; Plans to reduce waste have been unveiled on Global Recycling Day today (Thursday 18 March) – including proposals for new measures that government says will ‘ramp up’ action on ‘fast fashion’ and hold manufacturers accountable for textile waste. The plans form part of a new Waste Prevention Programme for England which sets out how the Government and industry can take action across seven key sectors – construction; textiles; furniture; electrical and electronics products; road vehicles; packaging, plastics and single-use items; and food.
  • Brits back best practice DRS scheme design, finds YOUGOV research; New research disproves claims that a variable rate DRS would be too complex 85% of respondents considered a variable rate system ‘easy to understand’ 61% of respondents support higher deposits for larger containers New research released earlier today (17 March) disproves the claim that a variable rate deposit return scheme (DRS) would be too complex.
  • UK launches Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy to create ‘world’s first low carbon industrial sector’; A new blueprint to deliver the ‘world’s first low-carbon industrial sector’ and over £1 billion to cut emissions from industry, schools and hospitals has been announced by the UK Government today (17 March). The Strategy sets out the government’s vision for building a competitive, greener future for the manufacturing and construction sector. Part of the government’s path to net zero by 2050, today’s measures will create and support 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years whilst cutting emissions by two-thirds in just 15 years, government says.
  • LEAK: EU experts to say nuclear power qualifies for green investment label; Experts tasked with assessing whether the European Union should label nuclear power as a green investment will say that the fuel qualifies as sustainable, according to a leaked document. The European Commission is attempting to finish its sustainable finance taxonomy, which will decide which economic activities can be labelled as a sustainable investment in the EU, based on whether they meet strict environmental criteria.
  • A year on: is the government keeping its promise to radically shift the way we travel?; It’s been a year since the Department for Transport (DfT) published its transport policy paper. This set out the context for the government’s challenge to decarbonise the UK’s largest emitting sector, ahead of launching its Transport Decarbonisation Plan. At that time, many were pleasantly surprised (including Green Alliance) at the change in tone from a department that has traditionally been a climate laggard, and many hoped the promised plan would mark a pivotal moment.
  • Beverage carton industry releases ten-year roadmap for sustainable packaging; ACE, The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, and its members SIG Combibloc, BillerudKorsnäs, Elopak, Stora Enso and Tetra Pak, have set the industry’s vision for the future: we will deliver the most sustainable packaging for resilient food supply systems which is renewable, climate positive and circular.
  • Jet Zero launches £15 million competition to reduce aviation emissions; £15 million Green Fuels, Green Skies competition to turn materials such as everyday waste into sustainable aviation fuel. Net zero-emission aviation is one step closer today (16 March 2021) following the launch of a new competition to support the development of cutting-edge facilities capable of turning everyday waste into jet fuel. The Green Fuel, Green Skies competition, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, will set out to support UK companies as they pioneer new technologies to convert household waste, waste wood and excess electricity into sustainable aviation fuel.
  • Rise of ‘recommerce’ sees more Brits reselling pre-owned goods; Brits lead the rise of the ‘recommerce’ market as more people turn to selling pre-owned goods on eBay during the pandemic. As the UK approaches the one-year milestone since the start of the first national lockdown, new data from eBay shows two thirds (67%) of UK sellers said they started selling pre-owned goods last year to earn extra cash during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Aluminium industry identifies three areas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) has today (16 March) published what it calls ‘the most comprehensive’ greenhouse gas emissions reductions pathways available to the aluminium sector over the next three decades. The pathways are based on the IAI’s data and analysis of the global aluminium industry. The new report, Aluminium Sector Greenhouse Gas Pathways to 2050, sets out three approaches to emissions reductions for the aluminium industry, in line with the International Energy Agency’s Beyond 2 Degree Scenario.
  • Circular Economy anniversary - reflections from the plastics industry; "11 March 2021, the European Commission’s second Circular Economy Action Plan celebrates its first birthday– a date I also share as marking my first year as Managing Director of PlasticsEurope. When the Commission published the plan this day last year, many of us were in our first days of working from home and could not have imagined still being there 12 months later. But we also could not have imagined how much progress in developing policies could have been made from home."
  • Many local authority waste services ‘under strain’ – ADEPT; Waste services across the country are continuing to feel the impacts of COVID-19. That is the message from the 19th Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) 19th waste impacts report. Run in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO), the survey examines the impacts of COVID-19 on waste services in England.
  • UN: 17% of all food available at consumer levels is wasted; An estimated 931 million tonnes of food, or 17% of total food available to consumers in 2019, went into the waste bins of households, retailers, restaurants and other food services, according to new UN research conducted to support global efforts to halve food waste by 2030.
  • Lords launch decarbonisation inquiry into batteries; The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee is calling for evidence to inform its new inquiry into the use of batteries and fuel cells for decarbonisation. The inquiry and call for evidence will focus on the role of battery and fuel cell technologies in the UK’s ambition to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • Biffa doubles plastic recycling capacity with £13m Sunderland investment; Resource management firm Biffa is doubling its high-density polyethene (HDPE) plastic recycling capacity with a new investment in its facility in Washington, Sunderland. The £13 million investment will allow Biffa to recycle a further 14,000 tonnes of HDPE, a material that is commonly used for milk bottles, growing its total annual capacity to 39,000 tonnes – or 1.6bn bottles a year. 
  • eBay UK launches Certified Refurbished hub; eBay UK is today launching a new hub making it easier for consumers to find ‘high-quality refurbished products’ from brands such as Dyson, Eve and GoPro. eBay’s Certified Refurbished hub enables buyers to get their hands on premium brands and products that have been ‘carefully refurbished’, eBay says, and ‘guaranteed for their quality’ – discounted by as much as 30% off.
  • BBPA Budget response – Good news for pubs in the short-term, long-term stimulus still needed to secure the great British pub; Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget speech, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of British Beer & Pub Association, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of continued support for the devastated pub sector in the form of additional grants, as well as extensions to the job retention scheme, 5% hospitality VAT rate and business rates holiday.
  • Was this a budget for climate and nature?; Today’s budget provided around £130 million in new green public investment, mainly focused on industrial decarbonisation. The chancellor has provided new money for a hub in Holyhead to generate hydrogen for use in HGVs; an ‘energy transition zone’ to move the North Sea oil and gas industry towards greener fuels and technologies; and some new innovation investment for floating offshore wind and energy storage tech.
  • Alupro launches new website to educate consumers about the importance of recycling; Alupro, the aluminium packaging recycling organisation, has unveiled its brand-new Recycle Aluminium website, to educate consumers about the infinitely recyclable benefits of aluminium packaging. Working to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet recycling targets, the site is an educational hub, featuring the latest data, how-to guides, blog posts, videos, fact sheets and more.
  • Love food, hate waste, buy frozen; The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) is proud to be working with WRAP and supporting Food Waste Action Week by highlighting the benefits of buying frozen, not least of which is the reduction in food waste it facilitates.
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