Producer Responsibility Systems

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th June 2018.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby 12:00 am, 7th June 2018

What steps he is taking to reform producer responsibility systems to incentivise producers to take more responsibility for the environmental effects of their products.

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are developing a renewed strategy on resources and waste, which will include reviewing how the producer responsibility scheme works to ensure that we can invest more in recycling.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

Does the Secretary of State agree that a reformed packaging recovery note system could provide funds for better recycling and waste collection, particularly for on-the-go packaging; reduce litter; and increase recycling rates? Does he also agree that that is a better option than the “latte levy” scheme, under which there is no assurance that the money will go towards environmental improvements?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My hon. Friend, who knows a great deal about packaging, waste and recycling, makes an important point. If we impose particular costs on producers, we should whenever possible ensure that those costs then go towards environmental enhancement and improving recycling. I am sure that his well-pitched case will be heard with sympathy in the Treasury.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

I urge the Secretary of State to be radical here. Not only should he look at how PRNs work and their effectiveness, but he should consider the supply chain of those who make plastics. Professor Steve Evans at the Institute for Manufacturing in Cambridge believes that manufacturing will have to change fundamentally to tackle the problem. Will the Secretary of State speak to him?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Not for the first time, the hon. Gentleman makes a thoughtful point. It is the case that the PRN scheme needs reform, but he is also right that we will have to think about how we change packaging and the supply chains upon which we have relied in the past. I will take up his kind invitation.