Introduce levies on raw materials to boost secondary material markets, says Eunomia

A system of levies and rebates should be introduced to cut down on the use of raw materials in manufacturing and incentivise those producers that use more recycled materials, according to a new report from Eunomia Research and Consulting.

The report, entitled ‘Demand Recycled: Policy options for increasing demand for post-consumer recycled materials’, was commissioned by the Resource Association and WWF-UK and presented at a parliamentary reception in the UK Parliament last night (20 November).

The report looks at ways to overcome key market failures that inhibit the uptake of post-consumer recyclate (PCR), including inadequate producer responsibility, a lack of incentives to use secondary materials, the high cost of carrying out quality checks and a lack of information on the benefits of secondary materials.

Four policy options are proposed to increase the uptake of secondary materials: material taxation, a fee-rebate (or ‘feebate’) system, tradable credits for secondary materials and establishing a single producer responsibility organisation.

The report recommends further consideration of a ‘feebate’ system as the most attractive policy option. The ‘feebate’ scheme would comprise a levy on all packaging incorporated into the cost of the product to the consumer, which would be refunded through a full or partial rebate to organisations demonstrating their use of PCR through the number of certified credits they hold. A twofold incentive is present for producers to increase their use of secondary materials in order to gain higher rebates and lower the cost of their products for the consumer.