EAC Relaunches Disposable Packing Enquiry

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is relaunching its predecessor’s inquiry into Disposable Coffee Cups and Plastic Bottles.

The previous Committee’s inquiry received over 100 submissions of evidence but was never completed due to the General Election.

The decision follows the Scottish government’s announcement that Scotland would be introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. The design for Scotland’s new system has yet to be finalised.

The new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, has said a DRS would be a “great idea”, but said that it is important to make sure it would work properly before guaranteeing its implementation.

Other countries such as Germany, Norway and Sweden already have DRS in place. The German deposit scheme cost around three times as much per container as household-based collection systems and Germany recycled over 90% of its PET bottles in 2015.

The Committee will be accepting written submissions from those who did not submit earlier in the year or who wish to update their evidence in the light of subsequent events.

Submissions should address the following points:

Impact

  • What is the environmental impact of waste from coffee cups and plastic bottles? Are the rates of use, collection levels and recycling levels of these products increasing or decreasing over time?
  • What are the challenges of recycling these products? What obstacles have prevented greater progress in increasing recycling rates?

Progress

  • Are consumers aware of the complexities of recycling these products? How could we increase awareness amongst the public and what impact would this have?
  • What actions are being undertaken by retailers and industry to reduce waste generated by coffee cups and plastic bottles? How effective have these initiatives been? How could the Government better support these initiatives?
  • How effective, to date, have Government and local government led initiatives (such as #1MoreShot) been at reducing waste and increasing the recycling of coffee cups and plastic bottles? What progress has been made to develop a viable, recyclable alternative to the polyethylene coated paper cup? What are the pros and cons of the use of such cups?
  • What is the likely impact of leaving the EU on UK efforts to reduce coffee cup and plastic bottle waste?

Solutions

  • What initiatives could be utilised to reduce coffee cup and plastic bottle waste or to lessen the impact of this waste? In particular what are the opportunities and risks associated with:
  • — Incentives to encourage the use of re-usable alternatives for these products.
  • — Charge, taxes, deposits or levies on the use of these products.
  • How can we encourage households, businesses, food and drink outlets, and offices to change behaviours or introduce policies to reduce their coffee cup and plastic bottle waste?
  • How are other countries working to reduce coffee cup and plastic bottle waste? What examples of best practice are there that the UK could learn from?

For more on how to submit CLICK HERE


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