The Welsh government’s proposal to charge packaging producers for litter completely exonerates the public for its role in creating litter.
Despite the excellent work of Keep Wales Tidy, people continue to drop litter. By charging producers for litter (a policy that has been removed by Defra for England, as it means packaging will be double charged) Welsh government is sending out the wrong message to the public, unless it instigates a sustained programme of issuing fixed penalty notices to members of the public who litter. If not, then people will be given the impression they can carry on littering because business will pay for it, not hard-pressed local authorities, so they don’t even need to feel guilty about dropping it.
Under Extended Producer Responsibility legislation, it will be the bigger retailers who pay for litter but smaller independent operators below the charging threshold account for the majority of takeaway food and drink premises and so won’t be paying unless Wales removes the threshold. This will mean either only part of the litter relating to takeaways being accounted for or those businesses above the threshold paying for those below. Surely this is unfair?
The biggest contributor to litter is cigarette butts, which account for around 60% of litter, yet they are not included in the proposals. Nor is chewing gum or the major source of micro plastics in street drains, car tyres. If the Welsh government is charging producers for packaging related litter, then it should take the bold stance of charging for the biggest contributors to litter. This will bravery in the face of the intense tobacco, chewing gum and automotive lobby.
Welsh government should also make it clear the public will be paying, as producers will have no option other than to pass on these costs to their customers. This means Welsh people who don’t litter will pay for those who do. The Welsh public will also be paying twice through both council tax and at the till.
Packaging related litter is dropped by the public and not by packaging producers and if this policy is to be enacted then Welsh government and local authorities must commit to issuing fixed penalty notices for littering and to making producers of all the items found in litter pay and not just packaging. Not to do so will simply shift the cost and do nothing to eliminate or even reduce littering.
ENDS 7 April 2022
Issued on behalf of the Foodservice Packaging Association by Leapfrog PR. Editorial contact is Felicity Read on 07887 608353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d love to hear from you whether it’s about potential membership, a query or question about foodservice packaging or if you’d like to talk to someone. Use our contact form and we’ll get back to you.