BRC responds to proposed environment bill

In response to the Government’s introduction of the Environment Bill, Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), has made comment.

Opie said, “Retailers welcome the Government’s commitment to strengthen environmental protections and deliver a circular, zero waste economy. Customers expect greater sustainability and retailers are committed to ambitious targets to remove and improve packaging through the UK Plastics Pact. However, we remain concerned that the Government’s current plans are disjointed and add unnecessary barriers.

“Retailers support the principle of extended producer responsibility, where businesses pay the full cost of collection and recycling of packaging. It drives innovation in the use of recyclable packaging. We do not believe the Treasury’s plastic tax further supports this objective. It is unnecessary and would not be reinvested in tackling plastic pollution and improving recycling.”

Opie continued, “We need consistency across the UK; a system that is simple for consumers to understand and straightforward for businesses to implement. Retailers are already leading the charge to reduce unnecessary plastic in their stores, but a continued lack of coordination between deposit return schemes in Scotland and England would hinder these efforts.

The new Environment Bill presents an opportunity to build upon the successes of the existing kerbside recycling system, but the UK and Devolved Governments must work together to make this happen.”

Opie concluded, “We need ambitious plans that deliver a step change in waste and recycling, but this requires Government to listen to those who serve UK consumers every day. It will require billions of pounds of investment by retailers and we want to ensure that every pound spent has the greatest possible impact.”