Leaders from the horticulture sector have expressed concern around the short timescales and lack of detail in the recently announced principles of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) consultation on packaging. In a letter to Defra, they backed the scheme but said, if introduced, it would see packaging producers liable for the full cost of managing packaging once it becomes waste.
In a letter coordinated by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), the HTA, Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) and the Garden Centre Association (GCA), five key areas were highlighted where they believe the EPR proposals can be improved. They say that for the vision of a circular economy to be fulfilled and the EPR scheme to deliver against its aims, it needs to better recognise the business impact, particularly on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – which make up most of the UK horticulture industry – and that there must be greater clarity of cost obligations and reporting requirements of all businesses. A more detailed understanding of the recyclability of materials with consistent and reliable collections of these across the UK within a more realistic timeframe and a consideration for the essentialness of the packaging for safety and environmental reasons is needed.
James Clark, director of policy & communications at the HTA, said: “As an industry intrinsically and positively linked to the environment, we recognise that we all have a part to play to minimise the impact of packaging. We want to ensure that the potential impact on our unique supply chain is given proper consideration and to make suggestions for where government support could make a real success of the proposed scheme.”