Policy & Legislation

Any change in national or international environmental policy will almost certainly have an impact on the plastic packaging industry. At RECOUP, we are committed to being a key voice in shaping environmental policy for plastic packaging, so that new policies are designed and implemented in a way that is practical, progressive and purposeful.

We engage with RECOUP members and other stakeholders to ensure that policy makers get the right evidence and guidance at all levels.

Critical areas where RECOUP’s voice has made a difference to environmental policy for packaging include:

  • The use of recycled content.
  • How and where plastics are collected for recycling.
  • The infrastructure needed to recycle plastics.

What RECOUP do

  • Produce updates and analysis for members around upcoming policy changes and legislations.
  • Highlight the impact on the various sectors represented in the RECOUP membership.
  • Engage with and advise government, devolved administrations and others on policy design and outcomes. These include HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Environment Agency (EA), and the Food Standards Agency (FSA), among others.
  • Respond to government consultations and engage with members and other organisations to, where possible, align views and evidence.
  • Provide updates relating to plastic collection and recycling, and systems such as the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN), plastic recycling export, and other related data.
  • Develop RECOUP position statements on key topics, including plastic waste export and food contact recycled content.

How RECOUP can help

  • Responses to government consultations incorporating feedback and input from members.
  • Communicate and provide advice and guidance to members to help them better understand policy and legislation.
  • Take specific requests from members and engage with policy makers on their behalf.

Policy & Legislation Reports

Key areas of UK and EU environmental policy for packaging

These are some of the major consultations and legislation that affect plastics packaging:

  • UK Plastic Packaging Tax. Levied by HMRC, this is a tax on plastic packaging manufactured or imported in the UK, aiming to reduce plastic waste and promote sustainability.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility. This policy holds producers accountable for managing the entire lifecycle of their products, including collection, recycling, and disposal, to promote sustainable waste management.
  • Consistent Collections in England. This initiative aims to standardise waste collection systems across local authorities, improving recycling rates and making waste management more efficient.
  • Deposit Return Schemes (DRS). These are programmes being implemented in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, where consumers receive a refund for returning beverage containers such as bottles and cans, encouraging recycling.
  • Single-Use Plastic Legislation in England, Wales and Scotland. This includes laws and regulations that restrict or ban the use of certain disposable plastic items to reduce plastic pollution and promote sustainable alternatives.
  • Digital Waste Tracking. The use of technology to monitor and track the movement of waste, improving transparency and efficiency in waste management processes and ensuring proper disposal and recycling.
  • Windsor Framework (Northern Ireland). A strategic plan that aims to enhance waste management practices, promote sustainability, and transition towards a circular economy model.
  • EU Retailed Law Bill (Sunset Clause). This specifies a timeframe for the application of retail laws, ensuring regular evaluations and updates to adapt to changing market needs.
  • EU Circular Economy policy changes. Anything that impacts the UK Plastic Packaging Waste Regulations (PPWR), driving a transition towards a more sustainable and circular economy by promoting recycling and resource efficiency.
  • Food Contact Plastic Packaging Legislation. This regulates the safety and compliance of plastic packaging materials used for food and beverages, ensuring they meet specific standards for food contact applications.
  • EU Waste Exports and Shipping. These regulations control and monitor the exportation of waste materials to ensure proper waste management, environmental protection, and compliance with international agreements.
  • Basel Convention. An international treaty that addresses the management, transport, and disposal of hazardous waste, promoting environmentally sound practices and global cooperation.

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