23 January 2017
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is reshaping its waste and resources policy and is likely to shift responsibility for packaging waste to the product manufacturers.
Pippa Bartolotti, deputy leader of the Wales Green Party said, “There is a massive opportunity for Wales to be a leader in designing out waste in packaging. Up until now planet-friendly design has been voluntary for manufacturers. As a result, we are seeing far too much polystyrene and mixed materials wrapped around the things we buy.
“It is not right for consumers to have to pull packaging – such as cardboard and plastic - apart for separate doorstep recycling, and polystyrene is not recycled at all, neither does it biodegrade. It is not right for manufacturers to continue to use non- compostable and non- biodegradable materials in a modern circular economy.
“We’re calling on the Welsh Government to change the law and ban wastefully designed packaging in Wales, and turn this into an opportunity for our indigenous manufacturers and designers. If the Welsh government is truly committed to a zero waste strategy, this move is essential. “
Excess packaging is frequently quoted as a concern to the public, and Ecodesign is used to prevent waste by changing the way products are designed and reducing the amount and type of material used. Good design allows for reuse, remanufacture, separation and recycling.
Ecodesign considers all the environmental impacts of a product right from the earliest stage of design, including the type of packaging needed.
Pippa Bartolotti added, “Reducing the impact of packaging should be a top priority. Welsh manufactured packaging should be well designed and properly sustainable. This innovative new market will be grasped by others if we do not position ourselves as leaders. Timing is important. The time to make these changes is now.”
Wales led the way in the UK with the plastic bag charge, and as a result the use of these bags has dropped by 71%, and the impact on our trees and streets has been very much for the better.
In recent weeks, calls have intensified for Defra to consider changes to the producer responsibility regime to favour increased involvement by product manufacturers to fund the handling of their products at the end of life.