At the recent RECOUP Plastics Recycling Conference, Dr Helmut Maurer from the European Commission’s environment department – working on waste implementation issues for sustainable production and consumption – questioned whether resources should really be addressed through waste policy.
Providing the keynote presentation on putting plastic recycling into the context of circular economy and the EU approach to life cycle thinking, Maurer outlined the recent European Commission proposals and reflected that maybe more attention should be on plastic as specific waste stream. He also then questioned whether resources should really be addressed through waste policy, and indicated that a rethink could be needed for the development of separate resource policies.
He noted that too much plastic is sent to landfill which could be used and recycled, and concluded that plastic is an ideal material to demonstrate that it is possible and profitable to move towards a circular economy model.
Rogerson Passionate On Plastics
A video address from Defra’s Resource Minister, Dan Rogerson, saw him confirm government and public body commitment to work with the plastic industry to achieve recycling targets and realise a genuinely resource efficient economy, while RECOUP’s chief executive, Stuart Foster, pointed to figures made available by the Environment Agency, suggesting that of the estimated £28m received for plastics PRNs in 2013, very little was allocated towards communications, despite initiatives such as pledge4plastics being seen as critical to increasing household plastic recycling levels.
He identified that the RECOUP annual survey due out soon is likely to report household plastic packaging collection levels in the region of 475kt for 2013, with further gains in the number of pot and tray collections and modest increases in bottle collections. It was also noted that the design for recyclability guidance would also be updated and re-issued before the end of the year.