The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said that manufacturers “stand ready to work with Government” on further recycling laws as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he is revising plans on stricter recycling measures in favour of “simpler solutions.”

In a public address at 10 Downing Street on 20th September, Sunak revised plans for net zero in what he stated will “ease the burdens” on families and working people.

Sunak spoke of ruling out policy ideas that would require people to share cars, eat less meat and dairy, be taxed to discourage flying, or have seven bins to hit recycling targets – removing proposals that he states would “interfere in the way people live their lives.”

Currently, the UK has set the target to reduce carbon emissions by 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels – and is the only major economy to have set a target of 77% for 2035.

This follows progress over the past decades to cut emissions faster than any other G7 country, with the UK having already slashed emissions by 48%, compared to 41% in Germany, 23% in France and no change at all in the United States.

Sunak said: “Over the last decade or more, we’ve massively over delivered on every one of our carbon budgets despite continuous predictions we’d miss them.

“I’m confident that we can adopt a more pragmatic, proportionate and realistic approach to meeting net zero that eases the burdens on working people.”

FDF responds to simpler measures

Commenting on the proposed recycling measures set out in the PM’s speech, Jim Bligh, FDF director of corporate affairs and packaging, said: “Food and drink manufacturers have an ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, an aim shared across the farm-to-fork supply chain. Creating a circular economy for packaging is an important part of achieving these goals.

“Nobody wants seven bins, but we do need councils to collect and sort recyclable materials so we can turn yoghurt pots and crisp packets back into food-safe packaging. Manufacturers stand ready to work with Government to get the details right, so we get value for money from the £2 billion-a-year Extended Producer Responsibility reforms, which are underpinned by consistent collections.”

The PM added: “This country is proud to be a world leader in reaching net zero by 2050. But we simply won’t achieve it unless we change.

“We’ll now have a more pragmatic, proportionate and realistic approach that eases the burdens on families.

“All while doubling down on the new green industries of the future. In a democracy, that’s the only realistic path to net zero.

“We are going to change the way our politics works. We are going to make different decisions. We will not take the easy way out.”