Resources and Waste Policy 'Calculator' launched today to help local authorities respond to government consultations

A new tool, called the Resources & Waste Policy Impact Calculator, has been launched today (Friday 22 March) to help local authorities in England understand and quantify the impact of emerging waste policy upon recycling and waste management services.

The Resources & Waste Policy Impact Calculator was developed by Anthesis Group and SUEZ, together with support from LARAC, Project Integra and the Kent Resource Partnership.

The calculator, which is available to download free of charge at https://policyimpactcalculator.suez.co.uk, provides a user-friendly interface to help local authorities estimate the potential financial and operational implications of the different Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) scenarios, and full net cost recovery Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) proposals, on their individual services.

A major shake-up of producer responsibility and recycling and waste collection systems has been proposed by Government as part of its recent Resources & Waste Strategy. Last month (February) Defra released three consultation documents seeking feedback on various options for deposit return schemes, extended producer responsibility and plans to create consistency of collection services, while HM Treasury is also consulting on plastic packaging taxation proposals. The consultations are due to conclude in mid-May.

By inputting basic service data unique to each local authority, or by using the default information embedded within the tool, the calculator produces a number of bespoke indicative outputs for each authority which include, for example:

(1) The potential tonnage and volume of material removed from kerbside collection services by DRS, and the subsequent financial and operational impacts of this

(2) The likely tonnages of EPR-obligated materials in household streams

(3) The level of financial support available from producer-funding

(4) The gap between current performance and likely future targets

The models, data and underlying assumptions used to generate these figures are clearly explained within the policy impact calculator and based upon the scenarios presented in the consultation documents.

Lee Marshall, CEO LARAC said: “LARAC is keen that members respond to the consultations on DRS and EPR and this tool will be key for them to submit responses with good evidence on the impact on local authorities of a DRS.”

Paldeep Bhatti from Kent Resource Partnership said: “The role of extended producer responsibility and possible introduction of a deposit return scheme are likely to have fundamental impacts to the 13 Kent councils’ operations and finances. The policy impact calculator will help us understand these impacts, as well as provide the latest data for us to reflect in our upcoming consultation responses to Defra.”

Vicky Beechey from Project Integra said: “Project Integra is pleased to have had the opportunity to support the development of this calculator. We believe it will assist the Partnership to more comprehensively identify and understand the implications of the proposed EPR and DRS systems on waste management in Hampshire. We will be using the calculator to support our responses to the upcoming consultations and hope that other Local Authorities will take advantage of this work to do the same.”

Technical Development Director at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, Stuart Hayward-Higham, said: “With such a radical policy shake-up and numerous different options presented by Defra, there is significant uncertainty over the impact of the differing scenarios and models for deposit return and extended producer responsibility respectively. Confusion around the potential impacts of these major policy instruments may make it difficult for councils to make an informed response to these vital consultations, particularly given the condensed timescales for response, which is why we have backed Anthesis in developing this useful tool and contributed our own data to help inform the discussion.”

Beth Simpson, Principal Consultant at Anthesis said: “Accurately assessing the potential impacts around future policy is a crucial undertaking for local authorities. With major reforms now a near-term prospect off the back of the government consultations, it’s vital that authorities respond in an informed, constructive manner, with the evidence to support their views. It’s been fantastic to work with the partners and create a highly useful impact assessment tool to support authorities as they navigate their way through potential large changes to their operations.”