U.K. Wants Packaging Makers to Pay for Their Plastic Pollution

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. packaging manufacturers will have to pay for the full cost of dealing with the waste their goods produce under new government plans that seek to exceed European Union targets after Brexit.

A wide-ranging waste and resource strategy published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Tuesday will also pledge food waste collections for every home in Britain.

The food waste measures are a boost to developers of anaerobic digestion plants, which convert refuse into methane gas that can be used to generate power and heat. Those developers including Orsted A/S depend on steady streams of waste to fuel their plants and benefit from tighter rules on what can be dumped into landfills.

“The new strategy is strong on ambition,” said Dustin Benton, policy director for Green Alliance, a research group. “If it is implemented, it will end the scandal of producers paying just 10 percent of the cost of waste they put onto the market, give households effective collections for recycling and food waste, and shine a light on the estimated 77 percent waste which hasn’t been tracked.”

Recycling rates have plateaued in the past five years in Britain at about 45 percent, and the new plans aim to encourage companies to design products in such a way so that they generate less waste.

Defra said it will to extend so-called Producer Responsibility program, which currently requires companies pay 10 percent of the cost of waste they put on the market. A consultation will be announced in the new year that asks producers to pay the full net costs of waste they produce for packaging.

Defra said it plans to have new laws in place by 2023 that will match or exceed EU packaging and recycling targets for 2025 and 2030.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.