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Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effects of a deposit system for returnable cans and bottles on the amount of domestic and commercial waste; and if he will make a statement. (78011)

The Department commissioned a project last year to evaluate whether a deposit system could provide additional value in the UK alongside the current packaging waste recovery system. The work has now been completed and has taken into account existing deposit and return schemes in other parts of Europe, the USA and Canada. The Government will evaluate the findings including an assessment of the likely cost implications, taking account of the fact that additional costs are likely to be passed on to consumers.

The Department has also had discussions with the Advisory Committee on Packaging, regarding the impact of a deposit system. A task force concluded that the costs would be significant, and might be in the region of £1 billion to £7 billion, depending on how any such systems were set up.

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has also been leading a £1.2 million project to help retailers pilot new ways of encouraging householders to return their wastes to collection systems at supermarkets for recycling. The project has looked at whether these new approaches, including the use of new technology in bring banks and incentives such as discount vouchers, could help bolster recycling rates and attract new recyclers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what standards the Government plan to introduce for operators recycling televisions and computer monitors containing cathode ray tubes. (78441)

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive aims to minimise WEEE arisings and to encourage reuse, recycling and recovery.

Article 6(1) and annex II of the Directive introduce requirements for the treatment of collected items of WEEE to remove certain substances, preparations and components. The aim is to avoid the dispersion of pollutants into any recycled material or the waste stream. Cathode ray tubes (including their fluorescent coating) are among the substances that have to be removed.

This type of treatment will be subject to waste management licencing to ensure the protection of the environment and human health. We will publish guidance on how to comply with these requirements for those involved with the treatment of WEEE once regulations are made to transpose these provisions.