Recycling minister Rebecca Pow has hailed the “huge part” that waste and recycling plays within the Environment Bill, which is being laid before parliament today.
And, Mrs Pow – whose official title is parliamentary under secretary of state for Defra – explained that the “game-changing” bill will enable the government to transform the way producers think about their waste.
Speaking with letsrecycle.com this morning, Mrs Pow said that the bill is one of the biggest pieces of legislation in more than two decades, adding that it highlights the government’s commitment to the environment.
“We saw that the Bill was made a priority in the Queen’s speech, which I think demonstrated the central role the environment is playing in this government’s agenda,” she explained.
The Defra minister added: “It’s one of the top priorities of the government, it was a priority for a long time but I don’t think it got enough attention. We launched our 25 year plan in 2018 which was our commitment, that Theresa May made, to leave the environment in a better place for future generations. What the Environment Bill does is set in place that plan.”
Mrs Pow also explained that plans for Extended Producer Responsibility have been widely welcomed by both the industry and the wider public, and said she looks forward to the finer details being ironed out.
“There is a lot in the bill that the public really wants, and when EPR is explained, people love it, they really do. It will change the whole way that we think about bringing about the circular economy, it means those who design or manufacture a product will have to think about how much recyclable material it will contain, and at the end of the day where it ends up.
“That will be a game-changing step in the way we think about how we manufacture products, and will have a knock-on effect on how much waste we have at the end of the cycle.”
Mrs Pow explained that discussions have been going on for a number of months with the industry and promised that more discussions will continue as the legislation progresses.
“Producers will pay a levy and that money will be used in this whole recycling system to get all the other measures we need”
Touching on the future role of producers, the recycling minister added: “I assume they will pay a levy towards it [the costs of recycling] and that money will be used in this whole recycling system to get all the other measures we need. For example, helping local authorities to align recycling systems and collect a much more specific lot of recyclable materials, which will include food waste, so I think it’s a really game-changing move in the way we think about how we use resources.”
The Environment Bill is expected to easily pass government, as the basis of it has “much welcomed” cross-party support, although some have called for it to go further.
Once it passes the first and second reading in parliament, it will go before the committee stages, which Mrs Pow explained would be where the “nitty-gritty of this enormous bill” will be thrashed out.
Source: letsrecycle.com Waste Managment