Wales announces rule to make manufacturers responsible for waste created by their products

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Wales has joined forces with other UK nations to introduce new ‘polluter pays’ rules to make businesses which place packaged goods onto the market pay for their waste to be recycled.

Alongside Scotland, Wales is going one step further by committing to ensuring companies responsible for the most commonly-littered items cover the clean-up costs.

Under the new rules, a standard recycling logo will be required on all packaging to help consumers know what they can put in their recycling bins.

Brand owners, importers, distributers and online marketplaces will also be charged according to the amount and type of packaging they place on the market.

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, commented on the announcement: “How did we get to a point where a quick snack can be wrapped up in materials that take hundreds of years to break down?

“When littered, packaging can wreak havoc on our wildlife and our health. It doesn’t disappear when you have finished with it, even when disposed of correctly, costing the taxpayer dearly.

“We’re proud to be introducing these landmark changes which will lead to producers to think about the packaging they are putting on the market and help to incentivise recycling, alongside our fellow governments in the UK.

“We are going further again, by committing to charge producers if their items are commonly littered.

“We will not shy away from the challenges ahead. Since devolution, we have worked incredibly hard to turn around our recycling record, from being one of the world’s worst to one of the best.

“With a Team Wales effort we can create a real circular economy where we recycle and reuse, strengthening our local supply chains, reducing our reliance on imports and protecting the planet. World events show us just how urgent this is.”

According to the Welsh Government, industry will be penalised if their packaging is harder to reuse or recycle or if they fail to hit recycling targets. The fees they pay will be used to fund improved kerbside collections of packaging waste from households.

Payments to local authorities for the handling of packaging waste will begin in 2024.

Wales is also joining forces with England and Northern Ireland to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme, which will include PET bottles, steel and aluminium cans.

Furthermore Wales, alongside Scotland, has also committed to glass bottles being included in the scheme.

Further details on the Deposit Return Scheme design will be published in due course.

Larger coffee shops and fast food chains will also be required to have dedicated recycling bins in-store from 2024 for the collection of paper-based disposable cups. Scotland made this announcement last week.