New Circular Economy Package sets out UK-wide recycling ambitions


Plans to reduce waste and establish an ambitious long-term path for waste management and recycling across the UK have been published today.

In the latest step in government efforts to tackle waste, the Circular Economy Package sets a target to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035 and to have no more than 10% municipal waste going to landfill by 2035.

It restricts the materials which can end up in a landfill or incinerated, and includes a requirement that neither can be done to waste that is separately collected for recycling.

This paves the way for more recyclable materials to be kept in circulation within the resources and waste system, instead of being burned or buried.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow commented on the announcement: “We are committed to increasing our recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill to create a cleaner waste industry and reduce carbon emissions.

“Through our landmark Environment Bill we will be bringing forward a raft of measures to do just that, and this new Circular Economy Package takes us yet another step forward to transforming our waste industry.”

The Circular Economy Package, which will come into law later this year, is an important part of the Government’s existing commitment to move towards a more circular economy and reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

This includes having a consistent set of recyclable materials for collection in England, no matter which part of the country people live in, and a deposit return scheme for single-use drinks containers to increase recycling rates and tackle litter.

It also includes an Extended Producer Responsibility system which sees industry paying higher fees if their packaging is harder to reuse or recycle.

Four UK administrations have worked together in putting this statement together and will continue to do so while moving through the rest of the transposition process.

Some amendments being made by the Secretary of State will apply to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

These will relate to existing legislation which applies on a UK- or GB- wide basis or to those regulations that are not devolved.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will also make their own regulations which will transpose the non-UK wide elements of the CEP into their own domestic legislation.

The Secretary of State will be making the legislative changes required to transpose the 2020 CEP measures on behalf of England and Wales, apart from some amendments including those relating to hazardous waste which Defra are making on an England-only basis.

The Welsh Ministers will be seeking the consent of Senedd Cymru for the Secretary of State to make the legislative changes on their behalf.

In parallel, any amendments to Wales only legislation will be made by Welsh Ministers, in free-standing, Wales-only regulations.