LGA response to consultation on introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

About the LGA

The Local Government Association (LGA) is the national voice of local government. We are a politically-led, cross party membership organisation, representing councils from England and Wales. Our role is to support, promote and improve local government, and raise national awareness of the work of councils. Our ultimate ambition is to support councils to deliver local solutions to national problems.

Summary

The LGA welcomes the opportunity to continue to contribute to the consultations on resources and waste reforms, first set out in the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy. Here we set out an overview of the LGA’s response to the package of reforms. We have also answered the individual questions in each of the consultations.

The LGA supports the ambition for an increase in recycling rates. As the Resources and Waste Strategy notes councils have a good story to tell on the growth in recycling, which has been maintained at its current level of around 45 per cent in recent years even though central government funding for councils has reduced by £15bn, nearly 60 per cent, since 2010. The local government sector is ready to take on the challenge of improving recycling levels and the overall waste service it provides to its residents. Our work in understanding the reforms continues and we are grateful for the engagement with DEFRA.

However, since the last round of government consultations in 2019 the world has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only had a devasting societal impact both at home and globally, it has also had a significant financial impact on councils up and down the country. Millions of people have moved from working in offices to working at home, consumer habits have changed around how and when people shop and local councils have seen an increase in the amount of material they are collecting from the kerbside as a result of these changes.

Below we set out some of the areas that need further engagement and consideration, but first we set out the emerging sector wide view of the reforms based on our engagement with councils:

  • The reforms to the producer responsibility schemes are long overdue and we agree with the Government’s aim that producers should be responsible for 100 per cent of the costs of managing packaging waste.
  • The majority of councils are already collecting a set of dry recyclables resembling that proposed in the consistency consultation. Where there are substantial additional costs for councils in complying with the proposed set, these should be met by new burden funding and/or transition funding. However, consistency cannot be applied to collections alone, it must also be a principle in the design and recyclability of packaging.
  • How waste is collected should continue to be determined locally. Current approaches reflect a range of local factors. The vast majority of people are not constantly on the move and they do not have to negotiate different local systems. Residents need to know what can be recycled, which is dependent on producers making this very clear on packaging, and their local method for collection. The current differences in the collection service will consider local geography and housing types and the investment in and availability of sorting and reprocessing infrastructure.
  • The mandating of food waste collection means that all councils should receive new burdens funding to pay for this service even if they have previously been collecting food waste on a voluntary basis.
  • Councils should continue to be allowed to charge for garden waste collection. In our view residents are willing to pay for this service and from our engagement with councils there is little evidence of garden waste being diverted to residual waste as a result of the charge. 

Additional general points

We make the following additional general points on the package reforms:

Scope of the reforms: the reforms focus on increasing recycling but also need to consider action first to prevent waste. The consultations have little to say on whether and how to reduce the overall level of packaging entering the system or the mechanisms for stimulating investment in end of life reprocessing infrastructure. The reforms implicitly rely on market forces to stimulate the use of the right type of packaging, but do not reference an ambition to reduce the overall level of packaging entering the system. Similarly it is assumed that the market will absorb an increase in the supply of recyclable material but there is no discussion on whether incentives are required, the types of preferred reprocessing procedures, the siting of infrastructure, or the timescales for bringing new infrastructure on stream. The current reprocessing market is patchy both geographically and in the depth of its capacity.

Reduction in the quantity of packaging entering the system should be an explicit aim. The government should also signal its long-term preference for how we reprocess recyclable material and consider the incentives that might be required to encourage investment in the right infrastructure in the right place. The Government must also recognise the investment that has taken place already at the local level, for example in energy from waste plants, with the support of past Governments. Any policy and/or tax changes to legacy systems will have a significant financial impact.

The relationship between the reforms: The individual reforms will have an impact on each other, but these feedback or spill over effects are not explicitly articulated or mitigated in the consultation documents. One example is the impact of an all-in DRS system on the net cost of kerbside collections. A second is how the EPR and DRS systems interact in the discharge of the overall producer responsibility and the relationship to payments that councils will receive for their role in recycling.  The links between the various reforms need to be made more explicit so that councils can understand fully the implications of taking forward any particular set of reforms.

Funding: Local government needs clarity about the future funding of the waste service. The Government states that “the funding to meet [packaging waste] costs will transfer from central and local taxpayers to businesses”[1]. Current funding of local authority waste services is not transparent. Councils’ funding is made up of council tax, retained business rates, Revenue Support Grant (RSG), specific grants, fees and charges and commercial activities. There is not a line in central government’s budget that is specific to waste services and changes in the composition of local government finance, through a series of financial reforms, means that it is not possible to assess how much funding has been made available by central government for local authority waste collection and disposal.

It is imperative that producers fully fund, through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) measures, both the current waste collection and disposal costs as well as costs associated with increasing the recycling rate. The funding arising from the EPR should flow in its entirety to local government.

The ‘polluter pays’ principle with regard to packaging has been incorporated into European legislation for the past 25 years.[2] In that time the proportion of recycling costs that have been paid for by businesses in other European countries has far exceeded that paid by businesses in the UK.[3]  Government estimates that producers will contribute £1 billion to household collection and disposal costs in the first year of implementation of the reformed EPR and £200 million for the management of bin and ground litter packaging[4] We know that there is more work to do in developing the data and funding mechanisms and we want to work with Defra and WRAP on this. The Government must now commit to the funding that comes from an improved producer responsibility system being additional.

Assumptions: WRAP has been gathering and analysing data on waste management and recycling for the last 17 years and it has undoubted expertise in this area. We have worked with WRAP to test their model against a sample of actual data from councils. This revealed challenges for the modelling process as councils do not record their costs in a standard format, and generic standards of efficiency had to be adjusted when applied to real places. The EPR consultation paper recognises that the data needed for modelling payments to councils is incomplete, notably on the number and location of flats in an area. Defra and WRAP must share their modelling assumptions with local government and address any gaps in data now in order to meet the planned 2023 start date for EPR payments. 

​​​​​​​The model stylises an ideal collection system, a preferred model being multi-stream collection, and uses this as a basis for determining the extent to which councils are ‘efficient’. This approach is used in the impact assessments to project savings as a result of councils moving to an idealised system. The model does not consider the peculiarities of geography and housing types in any given area. What WRAP determines as inefficiencies and therefore potential savings, are in our view the product of good local decisions based on a range of local factors that seek to optimise the waste service within the constraints of geography and housing types.

​​​​​​​Future work: We have answered the questions in the consultation as fully as we can. However, as most if not all the questions are multiple choice, you are likely to find that one person’s ‘yes’ is the same as another persons’ ‘no’. There are also still many grey areas. More work is still required to understand and refine the reforms and we look forward to our continued engagement with DEFRA on these matters.

 

DRS Consultation

The LGA is supportive of the Governments ambition to deliver a DRS. An effective DRS will help to deliver improved quality and quantity of recyclate. It could also be a real force for delivering behavioural change amongst consumers. The LGA’s offer to support Government in the delivery of a successful scheme remains open.

We welcome that Government has undertaken further modelling to better understand the costs of littering to local authorities, as called for in our 2019 consultation response. However, we are disappointed that the data and models used have not been made available for us to scrutinise and hopefully verify and support the conclusions. 

In the absence of overwhelming evidence that an all-in DRS scheme will deliver value for money, convenience for consumers and increase quantity and quality of material, more than an on-the-go DRS and EPR will deliver, the LGA support the introduction of an on-the-go DRS system. The LGA’s view is that an all-in DRS will be inconvenient for individuals and families living in smaller houses and flats, will increase the price of items when many families are struggling to put food on the table, penalise car-free households and increase transport on the already busy and polluting roads.

If Government decides to implement an All-in scheme some material will inevitably leak into the kerbside collection systems. Where this happens, councils must be compensated for their full net costs as would be the case if the materials where in scope of EPR.

DRS is a collection system. It does not on its own make producers change their behaviour. DRS must be implemented in a manner which actively encourages producers to use more environmentally friendly bottles. It must not be a system which facilitates producers carrying on with their current behaviour whilst consumers pick up the cost via paying deposits.

The consultation document asks multiple questions about a digital DRS and the LGA understands and appreciates why Government is keen to consider a digital DRS. However, there are two significant risks with digital DRS that need full consideration. Firstly inclusion - society is not equal when it comes to digitisation. Sections of society do not have access to the technology required for various reasons and therefore it is not a service that is accessible to all. Secondly data protection - For those that can access the service, there is a question about data. Who holds what data and what is its intended use? Until the issue of equality and data security are resolved. Local authority collection systems being used to facilitate this function will not be acceptable.

On permitted development rights for reverse vending machines - The LGA does not generally agree with permitted development rights as they strip councils of control of their local area, can cause significant environmental issues such as surface water flooding and in this case, damage the streetscape. The LGA’s preferred option would be for the DMO to fund planning posts that could work with local authorities to develop supplementary planning guidance for reverse vending machines.

The governance structure of the Deposit Management Organisation and the Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme Administrator will be integral to the success of the two schemes. The governance structure will need to reflect the interdependencies between the two schemes and as a central delivery partner for both schemes, local government must have a prominent role.

Consultation Questions

Background

Questions 1 - 4

Covered above – details of the organisation submitting the response.

5. Would you like your response to be confidential? 

No. 

6. Given the context of the Covid-19 pandemic we are currently experiencing, do you support or oppose our proposals to implement a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in 2024?

Neither support nor oppose

The LGA is supportive of the Governments ambition to deliver a DRS. An effective DRS can help to deliver improved quality and quantity of recyclate. It could also be a real force for delivering behavioural change amongst consumers.

A DRS scheme was originally being considered as a mechanism to reduce littering. If the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme intends to cover full net cost of packaging materials placed in local authority kerbside collection systems and extend producers responsibility to include full net cost of packaging items littered, with a view to motivating action to prevent littering, then we question what value an all-in DRS would add.

Local authorities have been providing comprehensive kerbside collections of most packaging materials for many years. Many of the challenges local authorities have faced over the years are a result of supply chain failure e.g. not enough demand for food grade recycled PET or HDPE either due to price fluctuation in virgin PET and HDPE pricing and not enough investment by packaging producers in the supply chain infrastructure.

With an EPR scheme covering full net costs of packaging material placed on the market, alongside legally binding targets for recycled content and responsibility for littering costs, is an all-in DRS necessary? DRS has the potential to be expensive for government to implement, challenging for small business to accommodate and confusing for consumers.

The LGA’s view is that an all-in DRS will be inconvenient for individuals and families living in smaller houses and flats, will increase the price of items when many families are struggling to put food on the table, penalise car-free households and increase transport on the already busy and polluting roads.

Therefore, In the absence of overwhelming evidence that an all-in DRS scheme will deliver value for money, convenience for consumers and increase quantity and quality of material, more than an on-the-go DRS and EPR will deliver, the LGA supports the introduction of an on-the-go DRS system.

7. Do you believe the introduction of a deposit return scheme will have an impact on your everyday life?

Yes. The introduction of a DRS whether on-the-go or all-in will no doubt have an immediate impact as citizens will be asked to change their behaviours. Local authorities are used to managing change and will no doubt manage this change well. The intention of local authorities would be to maintain full compliance despite the foreseeable large impacts which might occur for example: lost revenues, increased costs, underutilised facilities and contract change implications. It is also worth bearing in mind, that from a purely operational perspective of a total system, that fewer materials in the scope of a DRS probably makes easier compliance for all parties. This would also make the delivery of messaging easier too, for example in relation to the Consistency agenda, in relation to the costs of EPR and in relation to the goal of reducing litter.

8. Have your views towards implementation of a deposit return scheme been affected following the economic and social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The LGA’s fundamental position hasn’t changed but we are now looking at the proposals through a new lens due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Local Authorities and Government have been significantly impacted economically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. DRS alongside EPR and Consistency is going to be costly for Government and disruptive for local authorities and residents.

Consumers habits have changed significantly during the pandemic with more online shopping, more ‘weekly’ shops, less daily shopping (on the way home from the office), eating and drinking at home due to increased home working. Local authorities have noticed an increase in recyclable material placed out for recycling, suggesting less consumption on-the-go. It is possible some patterns of behaviour will remain in the coming years and some will revert back to something similar to the patterns of behaviour experienced pre-pandemic. One thing is sure, things will have changed.

Chapter 1: Scope of the Deposit Return Scheme

9. Do you agree that the cap should be included as part of the deposit item in a deposit return scheme for:

The LGA does agree that the cap should be accepted by the deposit return scheme if presented on the bottle or can, but do not agree that a bottle or can could be rejected from the deposit return site without the cap or lid.

10. Do you believe we have identified the correct pros and cons for the all-in and On-the-Go schemes described above?

The lifecycle carbon implications of an all-in DRS do not appear to have been considered. An all-in DRS system is likely to lead to an increase in vehicle movements as consumers are unlikely to want to store containers until they next undertake a big shop.

11. Do you foresee any issues if the final scope of a deposit return scheme in England and Northern Ireland does not match the all-in decision taken in Wales? E.g. an On-the-Go scheme in England and an all-in scheme in Wales.

There will no doubt be challenges around communication, labelling etc but these are not unmanageable challenges. If an on-the-go scheme is the best solution for England due to its population density, geography, carbon footprint etc then consistency with the devolved administrations should be a minor consideration.

12. Having read the rationale for either an all-in or On-the-Go scheme, which do you consider to be the best option for our deposit return scheme?

The LGA is still unclear as to whether a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is needed. A DRS scheme was originally being considered as a mechanism to reduce littering. If the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme intendeds to cover full net cost of packaging materials placed in local authority kerbside collection systems, and extend producers responsibility to include full net cost of packaging items littered, with a view to motivating action to prevent littering, then a DRS system is superfluous.

Local authorities have been providing comprehensive kerbside collections of most packaging materials for many years. Many of the challenges local authorities have faced over the years are a result of supply chain failure e.g. not enough demand for food grade recycled PET or HDPE either due to price fluctuation in virgin PET and HDPE pricing and not enough investment by packaging producers in the supply chain infrastructure.

With an EPR scheme covering full net costs of packaging material placed on the market, alongside legally binding targets for recycled content and responsibility for littering costs, is DRS necessary? DRS has the potential to be expensive for government to implement, challenging for small business to accommodate and confusing for consumers.

The LGA’s view is that an all-in DRS will be inconvenient for individuals and families living in smaller houses and flats, will increase the price of items when many families are struggling to put food on the table, penalise car-free households and increase transport on the already busy and polluting roads.

Therefore, In the absence of overwhelming evidence that an all-in DRS scheme will deliver value for money, convenience for consumers and increase quantity and quality of material, more than an on-the-go DRS and EPR will deliver, the LGA supports the introduction of an on-the-go DRS system.

13. Given the impact Covid-19 has had on the economy, on businesses and consumers, and on everyday life, do you believe an On-the-Go scheme would be less disruptive to consumers?

Yes

14. Do you agree with our proposed definition of an On-the-Go scheme (restricting the drinks containers in-scope to less than 750ml in size and excluding multipack containers)?

Yes

15. Do you agree that the size of containers suggested to be included under an On-the-Go scheme are more commonly consumed out of the home than in it?

Difficult to say

16. Please provide any information on the capability of Reverse Vending Machines to compact glass?

No evidence to submit

17. Do you agree that the scope of a deposit return scheme should be based on container material rather than product?

Yes

18. Do you agree with the proposed list of materials to be included in scope?

Yes

19. Do you consider there will be any material switching as a result of the proposed scope?

Yes. There will inevitably be some product lines that will switch material. DRS policy should be flexible enough to adapt to material changes and new and innovative materials coming to market.

Chapter 2: Targets

20. Which of the following approaches do you consider should be taken to phase in a 90% collection target over 3 years?

80% in year 1, 85% in year 2, 90% in year 3 and thereafter

The LGAs view is to show ambition from the start.

21. What collection rate do you consider should be achieved as a minimum for all materials after 3 years?

90% collection rate should be achieved for all materials

22. Is it reasonable to assume that the same collection targets could be met with an on-the-go (OTG) scheme as those proposed for an all-in scheme for in-scope materials?

No. The LGA does not hold evidence to support this response. However, the response is based on assumed behaviour. The collective value of all-in deposit containers held by an individual or household is likely to be greater that the collective value of on-the-go containers, and therefore the incentive to return is greater.

23. Who should report on the volumes of deposit return scheme material placed on the market in each part of the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) for the proposed deposit return scheme?

What would be the implications of obligations to report on volumes of deposit return scheme material for producers/ importers and retailers? Please provide evidence to support your answer.

The producer/ importer. The number of producers/importers is very likely to be fewer than the number of retailers, therefore placing the obligation on the producer/importer makes the most sense. Retailers will vary significantly in size and to place additional burdens on small businesses should be avoided.

24. What evidence will be required to ensure that all material collected is passed to a reprocessor for the purpose of calculating the rate of recycling of deposit return scheme material?

Nothing to submit

Chapter 3: Scheme Governance

25. What length of contract do you think would be most appropriate for the successful bidder to operate as the Deposit Management Organisation?

7 - 10 years

26. Do you agree that the above issues should be covered by the tender process?

Yes

27. Do you agree that the issues identified should be monitored as Key Performance Indicators?

Yes

28. Do you agree that the Government should design, develop and own the digital infrastructure required to register, and receive evidence on containers placed on the market on behalf of the Deposit Management Organisation and regulators?

Yes. To allow for competition in any procurement of future DMO’s, or in the event that the DMO needs to be removed, Government being able to take control of the registration and evidence reporting system, and transition the system to the new Deposit Management Organisation is essential. Any transition between DMO’s will need to be seamless.

29. Government will need to understand the needs of users to build digital services for deposit return scheme. Would you like your contact details to be added to a user panel for deposit return scheme so that we can invite you to participate in user research (e.g. surveys, workshops interviews) or to test digital services as they are designed and built?

Yes

Chapter 4: Financial Flows

30. What is an appropriate measure of small producers for the purposes of determining the payment of registration fees?

Drinks containers placed on the market

31. Is a high level of unredeemed deposits funding the scheme problematic?

32. Which option to treatment of unredeemed deposits do you support?

33. With option 2, do you foresee any unintended consequences of setting a minimum percentage of the net costs of the deposit return scheme that must be met through the producer fee?

34. If a floor is set do you consider that this should be set at:

Answer to question 31-34 inclusive;

Yes. Linking the deposit rate directly to the funding of the scheme is likely to provide a perverse incentive to set the deposit rate low. The purpose of the scheme is to maximise high quality recycling. The deposit rate should be set at a rate that maximises the chances of high-quality recycling and therefore any unredeemed deposit should be considered a system failure and invested back into the system.

35. Do you agree that any excess funds should be reinvested in the scheme or spent on other environmental causes?

Unredeemed deposits have to be considered a failure of the scheme. It cannot be assumed that an in-scope bottle has been recycled outside of the scheme. Therefore, where a failure in the scheme has been identified, excess funds should be utilised to address the failure. Any remaining excess funds should be donated to either social or environmental causes

36. What should be the minimum deposit level set in legislation?

37. Do you agree that there should be a maximum deposit level set in legislation?

Producers have most experience in pricing products and therefore they are best placed to recommend this level

38. Recognising the potentially significant deposit costs consumers could pay on a multipack purchase, how best can we minimise the impact of the scheme on consumers buying multipacks?

If the scheme is All-in. Each multi pack unit must carry the same deposit. If on-the-go, multipacks should remain in the EPR system

39. Do you agree with our approach to letting the Deposit Management Organisation decide on whether to adopt a fixed or variable deposit level, particularly with regards to multipacks?

No. Encouraging the purchase of multipacks through a variable deposit level may have perverse disincentives such as encouraging the increased consumption of sugary or alcoholic beverages.

Chapter 5: Return Points

40. Do you agree that all retailers selling in-scope drinks containers should be obligated to host a return point, whether it is an all-in or on-the-go (OTG) deposit return scheme?

Neither agree nor disagree. Retailers vary significantly in size small retailers on high streets, street corners or villages will struggle to accommodate large quantities of returns. With an increase in on-line supermarket shopping and many households short of storage, a scenario whereby units are bought via and online supermarket, and returns are taken daily to the local shop, unfairly penalises the small business.

41. Given the proposed extensive distribution and availability of return points for consumers to return bottles to, do you think customers would be likely to experience delays / inconveniences in returning drinks containers?

Not a straight-forward question. Delays are already experienced at retailers without a DRS so therefore, adding in another action, would only increase the delay already being experienced

42. Do you have a preference, based on the 3 options described, on what the schemes approach to online takeback obligations should be? We welcome views from stakeholders on who this obligation should apply to, including if there should be an exception for smaller retailers or low volume sales.

None of the proposed options are ideal. Things to be considered are; how can the item best be recycled and what is the carbon and environmental quality implication of each option. An option that increases the size or type of vehicle being used is counterintuitive and therefore more consideration of the options needs to take place.

43. Do you agree with the proposed criteria for the calculation of the handling fee?

Neither agree nor disagree

The handling fee could be further used to incentivise other low carbon, environmental or social behaviours such as encouraging the use of electric vehicles, energy efficient equipment and buildings. However there is a risk that some retailers may lose out where costs are not paid on actuals, and as such some sort of appeals procedure should be allowed for – to ensure that the intention is fully respected that any retailer should be compensated for ‘any costs incurred in hosting a return point’.

44. Please tick which exemptions you agree should be included under the scheme:

Close proximity and Breach of safety

45. Please can you provide any evidence on how many small and micro sized retail businesses we might likely expect to apply for an exemption to hosting a return point, on the grounds of either close proximity to another return point or on the compromise of safety considerations?

No evidence to submit

46. Do you think obligations should be placed on retailers exempted from hosting a return point to display specific information informing consumers of their exemption?

Signage to demonstrate they don't host a return point and signage to signpost consumers to the nearest return point

47. Do you agree with our rationale for not requiring retailers exempted on the basis of a breach of safety not to be required to signpost to another retailer?

Yes. For anti-competitive reasons set out in the consultation document

48. How long do you think exemptions should be granted for until a review date is required to ensure the exemption is still required?

3 years

49. Do you think the scheme could benefit from technological solutions being incorporated as a method of return, alongside reverse vending machines and manual return points?

Yes

50. How could a digital deposit return scheme solution be integrated into existing waste collection infrastructure?

Using existing waste collection infrastructure, provided by the local authorities and waste management companies, to deliver DRS inherently feels like an unnecessary expense. If the household and business collection services are good enough to deliver high quality recycling then why the expense of a DRS system?

51. What are the potential fraud control measures a digital deposit return scheme could bring?

There are two significant risks with digital DRS. 1. Inclusion – society as a whole is not equal when it comes to digitisation. Sections of society do not have access to the technology required for various reasons and therefore it is not a service that is accessible to all. 2. For those that can access the service, there is a question about data. Who holds what data and what is its intended use? Until the issue of equality and data security are resolved. Local authority collection systems being used to facilitate this function is not acceptable.

52. Do you think a digital deposit return scheme could ensure the same level of material quality in the returns compared to a tradition return to retail model, given containers may not be returned via a reverse vending machine or manual return point where there is likely to be a greater scrutiny on quality of the container before being accepted?

One of the reasons given for a DRS is to improve the quality of recyclable material that is being presented at kerbside. If kerbside collections are facilitating DRS then the quality of the material coming through this route will be the same. The LGA feels that kerbside collections deliver good quality, value for money recycling services. It is a redistribution of that cost to the producers that is the key requirement.

53. If the digital deposit return scheme system can be integrated into the existing waste collection infrastructure would its implementation and running costs be lower?

The digital return scheme systems running costs would be lower. The existing waste collection infrastructure running costs would be the same or higher, depending on who audits the consumers behaviour. This is a question of who pays the running costs. In this scenario a digital DRS becomes an incentive scheme.

54. Do you support the proposal to introduce a new permitted development right for reverse vending machines, to support the ease of implementation for the scheme?

Do you have any amendments or additional parameters you would propose are reflected in the permitted development right?

The LGA does not support permitted development rights (PDR). PDR removes local planning authorities’ ability to make the appropriate long-term decisions for their infrastructure and services, Only a locally-led planning system in which councils and the communities they represent have a say over the way places develop will ensure the delivery of high-quality affordable homes with the necessary infrastructure to create sustainable, resilient places for current and future generations.

PDR can cause significant environmental issues such as surface water flooding and in this case, damage the streetscape. The LGA’s preferred option would be for the DMO to fund planning posts that could work with local authorities to develop supplementary planning guidance for reverse vending machines.

However, if Government did continue the PDR route, these amendments or additional parameters should be included.

  • Should exclude conservation areas
  • Suitable locations should be specified (supermarket car parks, retail parks, retail arcades)
  • Size limit
  • Maintenance and cleaning requirement
  • Ensure access both to, and past, for people with disabilities.
  • A prior approval process with a deemed consent if no response from the LPA may be a better option than a pure PDR.
  • There may be potential issues regarding loss of car parking on smaller scale retail sites.
  • Appropriate amendments to the advertisement regulations should be made to give deemed consent for any necessary signage.
  • A condition requiring redundant machines to be removed when no longer being used.

Chapter 6: Labelling

55. Do you agree that the following should be part of a mandatory label for deposit return scheme products?

The following should be part of a mandatory label for DRS products.

  • An identification marker that can be read by reverse vending machines and manual handling scanners.
  • A mark to identify the product as part of a deposit return scheme.
  • The deposit price.

56. Are you aware of further measures that can be taken to reduce the incidence and likelihood of fraud in the system?

No evidence to submit

57. Do you agree with our proposals to introduce mandatory labelling, considering the above risk with regards to containers placed on the market in Scotland?

Yes. The risk as presented is a valid concern, but it has to be recognised that not having a mandatory labelling approach in parts of the UK outside Scotland could undermine the efficacy of a DRS to such an extent it does not achieve its full potential and potentially extend the level of fraud, particularly in border areas with different approaches on either side of a border.

58. Do you consider the risk of incorrectly labelled products entering the markets of England, Wales or Northern Ireland via Scotland to be a significant risk?

No evidence to submit

 

59. Do you consider leaving any labelling requirements to industry to be a better option than legislating for mandatory labelling requirements?

No. Standardisation of a new system is important for consumers in terms of understanding what is expected of them.

60. Are you aware of any other solutions for smaller producers who may not currently label their products?

No evidence to submit

61. We believe 18 months is a sufficient period of time for necessary labelling changes to be made. Do you agree?

Whilst there is limited information in the consultation on which to form a view it really depends on when the 18 months for labelling changes starts as subset of the overall lead in period. First, a key decision on when the DRS is to be implemented is required. Then the decision on whether the DRS is on-the-go or all-in is required. A DMO must then be contracted and establish an approach for labelling and how a DRS will operate in detail. At each point in that timeline, signals will be sent to producers on what to expect with increasing certainty.

62. Will your processes change as a result of mandatory labelling?

63. Do you agree that our proposed approach to labelling will be able to accommodate any future changes and innovation?

Questions 62 & 63 are not applicable

Chapter 7: Local authorities and local councils

64. Do you agree that local authorities will be able to separate deposit return scheme containers either themselves or via agreements with material recovery facilities to regain the deposit value?

No. Some deposit Return Scheme materials could technically be separated either at the kerbside, or via material recovery facilities however there will be a cost associated with either of these approaches. New Burdens payments would be required to prepare the infrastructure required to undertake this function and an ongoing operation fee would be required.

Furthermore, for a MRF to separate out materials in scope from similar materials not in scope additional processing would be required adding additional cost. The additional processing cost required are expected to be higher for an all-in scheme as opposed to on-the-go DRS.

Either way local authorities should not be left with a funding gap for providing a service they are obligated to where neither DRS, EPR or new burdens funding is available for the new net costs, which for absolute clarity should also reflect losses. This is why this statement from the consultation is unacceptable and worrying: ‘Local authorities would only receive funding for packaging covered under the Extended Producer Responsibility regime, excluding deposit return scheme material’.

65. Do you agree that local authorities will be able to negotiate agreements with material recovery facilities to ensure gate fees reflect the increased deposit values in waste streams or a profit sharing agreement on returned deposit return scheme containers was put in place?

Yes. Local authorities are very experienced in negotiating gate fees.

66. In order to minimise the risk of double payments from the Deposit Management Organisation to local authorities, where should data be collected regarding the compositional analysis to prevent the containers then being allowed to be redeemed via return points?

Data collected regarding the compositional analysis of the kerbside collection of recyclables should be the same point whereby data is being collected for the purposes of EPR. This will maximise system efficiency and enable full net cost recovery plus the deposit returned. The LGA’s preferred option.

67. How difficult do you think option 3 would be to administer, given the need to have robust compositional analysis in place?

Option 3 is not the LGA’s preferred option. A hybrid of Options 1,2 & 3 whereby LA’s receive full net cost in line with EPR plus the deposit less DMO costs (which could include the good cause donation). This option will put local authorities on a level playing field with retailer take back services.

68. What option do you think best deals with the issue of deposit return scheme containers that continue to end up in local authority waste streams?

The LGA’s preferred option is a hybrid of Options 1, 2 & 3 whereby LA’s receive full net cost in line with EPR plus the deposit. The deposit can then be reinvested back into the community as a community programme donation. The consumer can be informed that this will be the result of placing in scope material in the kerbside collection system and take comfort they are donating to a community cause. A community board can be established to govern, and the democratic nature of local authorities will mean the investment made is at the will of the electorate.

Chapter 8: Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement

69. Are there any other producer obligations you believe the Environmental Regulators should be responsible for monitoring and enforcing?

Nothing to add

 

70. Are local authorities (through the role Trading Standards and the Primary Authority Scheme) best placed to enforce certain retailer obligations?

Local Authorities have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and any additional roles given to Trading Standards would need to be fully funded. This additional role would be considered a New Burden, a low priority and funding would need to cover the full cost.

71. In addition to those in the table, are there any other types of breaches not on this list that you think should be? If so, what are they? These may include offences for participants not listed e.g. reprocessors or exporters.

No evidence to submit

72. Are there any other vulnerable points in the system?

There are still several vulnerable points in the system.

  1. Pitching the wrong deposit rate will lead to the system failing
  2. DMO governance needs to be linked into Extended Producer Responsibility government and Local Government needs a prominent role as a key part of the supply chain
  3. Some DRS materials don’t have recycling routes. This need addressing as a priority.

73. Do you see a role for the Deposit Management Organisation to seek compliance before escalating to the Regulator?

Yes. It is in the interest of the DMO to have a scheme that maximises material capture and quality and therefore it should have a role in seeking compliance before escalating to the Regulator

74. Do you agree with the position set out regarding enforcement response options?

No. Whilst the escalation of enforcement options is clear the financial and penal consequences are not and until the picture is complete it is impossible to agree, as in many instances the penalties for environmental crimes are not onerous enough to deter criminality. 

Furthermore, the prospect of a significant breach by a DMO is not addressed adequately, beyond saying that a ‘discretionary requirement could address this’ by using a non-specified ‘prescribed formula’.

Chapter 9: Implementation Timeline

75. Do you have any comments on the delivery timeline for deposit return scheme?

Any deposit return scheme should be implemented as soon as possible but EPR must be in place and operating successfully first. The LGA suggests trialling an on-the-go systems first, alongside EPR, as this will allow time and data to determine whether an all-in scheme would be welcomed by the general public and deliver cost effective improvements in capture and quality of recyclable material.

76. How long does the Deposit Management Organisation need from appointment to the scheme going live, taking into account the time required to set up the necessary infrastructure?

No evidence to submit

77. Depending on the final decision taken on the scope of the scheme in England and Northern Ireland – all-in or on-the-go – what, if any, impact does this have on the proposed implementation period?

On-the-go could be implemented quicker and at less cost and will allow time and data to determine whether an all-in scheme would be welcomed by the general public and deliver cost effective improvements in capture and quality of recyclable material.

Chapter 10: Summary Approach to Impact Assessment

78. Do you agree with the analysis presented in our Impact Assessment?

It is not possible to fully determine as the models used to arrive at the evidence presented have not been available to scrutinise. It is also presented in isolation and without the context of the effects of the Consistency and EPR agendas. A fully integrated impact assessment, to help establish the optimal nature and sequencing of change, is needed to answer this question fully.

Footnotes

[1] Consultation on reforming the UK packaging producer responsibility system 

[2] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 94/62/EC

[3] European Commission report: Development of Guidance on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), Final Report 2014