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Volume 462: debated on Friday 29 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what research has been conducted by the Department and its agencies on (a) the effectiveness of the Green Dot approach to recycling in the countries that have adopted this initiative and (b) assessing its feasibility in the UK; (145621)

(2) what factors the Government take into account when deciding whether to adopt the Green Dot approach to recycling; and what assessment the Government have made of its use in other European Union member states.

[holding answers 27 June 2007]: No such research has been conducted and my Department has not carried out any assessments of the systems employed in other member states.

The Green Dot system is used in several member states to transpose the requirements of the EU directive on packaging and packaging waste. The Green Dot is a licensed trademark which denotes compliance with an authorised packaging recovery scheme in other European Union member states. Its use indicates that a financial contribution has been paid to a national packaging recovery company, set up in accordance with the principles defined in the EU directive and the national law which transposes it.

The Green Dot is not a recycling symbol, although is often misinterpreted as such, so should not be used to denote general recyclability or recycled content.

The Green Dot system is not used in the UK; producer responsibility obligations are fulfilled via a different method. The management of packaging and packaging waste is covered by two sets of regulations in the UK, the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 and the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 (as amended). The packaging waste regulations require producers to buy packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs), or the export equivalent (PERNs), to demonstrate that they have financed a certain amount of recycling. Introducing a Green Dot system, therefore, would simply mean changing the system we have used in the UK to implement the provision of the packaging directive, rather than extending producer responsibility.

The approach that has been taken by the UK is unique and was formulated and agreed with industry following the adoption of the EU directive on packaging and packaging waste.