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    Trade bodies raise concern over new recycling scheme

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    Several British retailers and trade bodies are set to raise concerns over the government’s new recycling scheme with a warning that it will lead to higher costs for consumers.

    M&S, the British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation and Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment are among the few that are expected to brief environment secretary Thérèse Coffey, asking her to review the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (EPR) scheme.

    Expected to come into force in 2024, EPR will apply to companies that supply packaged goods to the UK market under their own brand, import products in packaging or sell non-UK made plastic products through an online marketplace.

    Companies that fall under EPR will be forced to collect and publish data on the packaging supplied or imported and pay various costs before collecting notes from re-processors to confirm the packaging waste has been recycled.

    In a letter seen by the Financial Times, the BRC and FDF have asked prime minister Rishi Sunak to reconsider the plans, adding that the scheme would “significantly increase the costs of packaging, which, in the current economic climate, will increase prices for consumers, without seeing the desired increase in recycling”.

    The FDF estimates that the scheme could add up to £60 a year for household bills. M&S has asked for the EPR charges to be tied explicitly to waste infrastructure improvements to avoid pushing up food prices by becoming “another tax”.

    “The current sequencing and implementation plans . . . are poorly thought through, add cost to businesses and customers and make no tangible difference,” the retailer said.

    The call comes weeks after it was revealed in a survey that reveals most UK businesses have yet to make plans for next year’s EPR legislation. The survey also found three out of five UK businesses do not collect data on packaging waste – let alone report on it despite the UK Government still planning to deliver EPR in 2024.

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