Businesses must pay environmental cost of hard-to-recycle packaging under government plans
Companies should be charged for packaging their products based on how difficult it is to recycle them.
Plans shared by the Scottish government following a UK-wide consultation include reforms to tackle excess packaging and increase recycling rates.
Extended producer responsibility will require producers across the country to take responsibility for the waste created by their products.
A report on the scheme estimates that producers will be charged around £1.7billion each year to cover household waste management costs across the UK.
Household waste currently costs the UK taxpayer around £1.2billion every year.
Under the plans, fees will be weighted and producers will have to pay more for packaging that is harder to reuse or recycle.
The money generated will go to improving local recycling collections from households.
The Scottish Government hopes the reforms will encourage businesses to use less packaging and ensure that what they use is either recyclable or reusable.
Cafes, fast food chains and other businesses that sell drinks in disposable paper cups will be required to provide a dedicated bin to collect and recycle them under the new bill.
Extended producer responsibility will come into effect from 2024.
Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said: “Too many products are still packed in unnecessary or hard-to-recycle packaging, much of which ends up in landfill or incineration.
“Pricing the environmental costs of packaging will encourage companies to use less of it or opt for more sustainable alternatives.
“Not only will this reduce waste and emissions, but it will also help reduce the amount of packaging littering our streets, parks and beaches.
“We know people want to do the right thing with the waste in their homes, but still find it difficult to know what can be recycled, so all packaging will also have standardized recycling labels.
“This will make it easier for people to properly recycle packaging.”
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “These reforms have huge potential to help drive the circular economy in Scotland and lead to a more sustainable approach to packaging where it is needed.
“With over 12 million tonnes of packaging waste produced in the UK each year, a significant proportion of which ends up in landfill, it is extremely important that we take steps to maximize the value of packaging by reusing and recycling it. recycling efficiently, and to reduce packaging altogether.