February 17, 2016 11:33 ET

Brexit Is 'Red Herring' for Recycling Industry

Diminishing Landfill and Pressing Need to Build a Circular Economy Are More Important, Says ecosurety

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Feb. 17, 2016) - This summer's EU referendum is nothing more than a 'red herring' and will have little impact on the waste and recycling industry, according to resource efficiency specialist ecosurety.

The proclamation from one of the UK's fastest growing resource consultancies comes as polls suggest the Brexit campaign is gathering momentum.

In the event of the UK leaving the EU, companies producing battery, packaging or electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) will still be required to accept their responsibilities as producers, and provide evidence of those obligations, believes the organisation. UK 'producers' of waste must currently pay for the impact the product lifecycle has on the environment, according to the number of items manufactured.

David Burton, policy director at ecosurety explains, "Our 1,000-plus members across food, retail, manufacturing and IT sectors, are understandably concerned about what steps to take in the short to medium term in the event of a shock exit. After significant analysis, we conclude there will be no noticeable long-term difference in the waste and recycling industry, whether the UK stays in or decides to get out of the EU this summer.

"An in-out vote is nothing more than a red herring, if nothing actually changes on the ground."

Non-EU countries such as Norway and Switzerland have simply elected to adopt EU producer responsibility legislation, an example of how the UK could operate in the event of a 'no' vote. The Government, unlikely to create a new raft of waste laws, will likewise choose to maintain principles of EU directives even if the UK leaves Europe, the organisation believes.

Finally, increasing numbers of non-EU countries are adopting the requirements to meet European producer responsibility legislation. The UK, which already operates within EU waste and recycling frameworks, will be able therefore to trade both in and outside of Europe.

Mr Burton continues, "Given the Government's desire to keep red tape to a minimum, ecosurety believes it will maintain the principles of the EU directives even in the event of the UK not being in Europe and that means producers being required to disclose obligations."

He concludes, "The bigger issue is the gathering momentum of the circular economy across the globe, because the UK is nowhere near ready for it, and no referendum is going to fix that."

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