Under a landmark new strategy set forward by the UK government, businesses in England may soon be forced to foot the bill for their own waste recycling. In a move designed to encourage businesses to think more carefully about the amount of waste they produce, Environment Secretary Michael Gove is aiming to pass through plans to become law in 2023.

As it stands, UK taxpayers pay the £1bn it costs to process the huge amounts of waste created by businesses. Big corporations and supermarkets only contribute around 10 percent to this bill.

UK businesses currently contribute only 10% to total recycling bill

Gove’s plans will see those responsible for the waste legally obliged to pay for its disposal, and industry will have to pay higher fees if their products are difficult to reuse or recycle – such as plastic. The thinking behind the proposals is that this will encourage more sustainable design.

If successful, the new plans will be the first update to the UK government’s waste strategy for over a decade. It’s timely too – recycling rates across England have become stagenent for the past five years amid growing concerns about plastic pollution and the environmental impact of food waste and recyclables shipped overseas.