New research from sustainable packaging company DS Smith shows that 44% of paper and cardboard packaging are set to end up in landfill or incineration by 2030.
17.3 million tonnes of paper and cardboard packaging worth £2.8 billion is set to end up in landfill or incineration by 2030, according to the research. DS Smith has also warned that the UK Government’s Simpler Recycling reforms are a “backwards step”.
Despite the UK being the third largest producer of paper and card waste in Europe, it ranks 25th of 30 European nations for recycling, DS Smith says. In 2020, DS Smith says 74% of paper and card was recycled, compared to a European average of 82%; the sustainable packaging company predicts this figure could drop to 56% by 2030.
The UK is on course to miss its long-term recycling target by up to 13 years, according to previous modelling by DS Smith, having already missed the 2020 recycling rate target of 50% set by Defra. DS Smiths says the UK is also on course to miss the 2025 (55%) and 2030 (65%) targets.
DS Smith’s report calls for separate collections of paper and card, a uniform recycling system across the country, as well as better labelling and consumer education, to reverse the declining recycling rates in the UK.
The Government’s proposals are a step in the wrong direction and will do nothing to improve already record-low recycling rates.
However, DS Smith highlights concerns with Simpler Recycling reforms announced by the UK Government which promotes the comingled collection of dry recyclables, including paper and card, as the standard approach in England.
DS Smith says evidence shows that a comingled approach increases contamination compared to a source-segregated model.
John Melia, Strategy Development and Innovation Director Recycling at DS Smith, commented: “Given the scale of the environmental and economic opportunity, the Government’s proposals are a step in the wrong direction and will do nothing to improve already record-low recycling rates.
“To revitalise recycling, we should learn from the proven, effective approaches of other UK and European nations who are reaping the benefits of well-structured recycling systems.”