The Unintended Consequence of Good Intention

Our Policy Director Paul Van Danzig has commented on the potential ‘unintended consequence of good intention’ that could arise from the government’s proposals to overhaul the packaging waste regulations.

He began by stating that he believes all of the intentions within the Government’s proposals are good, especially the desire to create a sustainable circular economy that ultimately leads to a better environment. He  said “if better regulation is the driver that is needed to achieve these goals then that should be embraced”. He went on to add “it’s fair to say that most nations (including the UK) have a history of introducing policy with good intention that unfortunately leads to completely different and not always positive outcomes. We must be mindful of this”.

Speaking during a conference session on packaging waste at the Letsrecycle Live trade show at Stoneleigh Park in May, Paul discussed the goals of the changes in legislation, and said that the reform must not simply be seen as a ‘refinancing exercise’ by government.

“The new money needs to drive infrastructure and innovation,” he argued, pointing out that the UK needs to become less reliant on exports to handle the recyclable waste it produces.

During his presentation, Paul also questioned the value in introducing a deposit scheme for drinks containers, pointing out that the Institute of Economic Affairs has recently cast doubt over the economic case for introducing the measure.

Wastepack’s Policy Director also called for more consistent labelling of product packaging regarding recycling, commenting that “meaningful labelling goes hand in hand with consistent collections across the nations.”


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