HC Deb 19 February 1998 vol 306 cc767-8W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to encourage a reduction in the amount of container refuse distributed by fast food outlets. [29701]

Angela Eagle

Fast food outlets are likely to incur an obligation to contribute to the cost of disposing of the containers which they sell as a consequence of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 which came into force in March last year. The regulations place obligations on producers of packaging, from raw materials manufacturers to sellers, to recover and recycle specified tonnages of packaging waste based on the amount of packaging they handle. The targets set by these Regulations, taken from the EC Directive on packaging and packaging waste, will require the UK rate of packaging waste recovery to almost double to 50% by 2001 (it is currently around 27%).

To be obligated, businesses must have a turnover of more than £5 million and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging annually. In 2000, the former threshold will go down to £1 million. These Regulations therefore ensure that businesses that place packaging on the market, including fast food outlets, make a substantial contribution to the costs of disposal of these products and this obligation acts as an incentive to minimise the weight of packaging used.

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