Demand Recycled: Policy Options for Increasing the Demand for Post-Consumer Recycled Materials

31st October 2018

by Dr Dominic Hogg

This report, commissioned by WWF-UK and Resource Association, was launched at a Parliamentary Reception on 20th November 2018.

The report outlines policy measures to deliver increased use of post-consumer recycled materials (PCR) in the UK economy. It analyses a range of policy options and sets out fresh thinking on the likely effectiveness of various policy interventions and responds to the growing need for detail on potential policy options in the implementation phase of the forthcoming Resources and Waste Strategy for England.

The report:

  • reviews the approaches used to date to increase recycling;
  • investigates the causes of market failure; and,
  • considers a wide range of potential policy measures to enhance the market for recycled material.

The report then investigates in detail a short-list of four types of policy measures to increase demand: materials taxation; a fee-rebate (or ‘feebate’) system; tradable credits and the establishment of a single Producer Responsibility organisation.

From the analysis of the four policy measures, our team recommend further consideration of a ‘feebate’ system as the most attractive policy option.  The report rejects materials taxation based on the complexity of delivery and suggests that a single compliance scheme and single organisation for producer responsibility would be complementary to any policy option used to increase demand for PCR.

The feebate scheme would comprise a levy on all packaging which is refunded to organisations demonstrating their use of PCR through the number of certified credits they hold. The system is favoured due to its versatility in design, the reduced administrative complexity relative to the tax-based measure, and the stability of the incentive it gives.

The report was launched at the Resource Association’s Parliamentary Reception on 20th November, sponsored by DS Smith Recycling.  The event was hosted by Alex Sobel, Member of Parliament for Leeds North West, who addressed the meeting alongside Jochen Behr, Head of Recycling at DS Smith.

This report is available free of charge. Press the orange button and supply a few details about yourself in order to access the download.