Plastic Industry Reaffirms Commitment To Recycling

The plastic packaging industry and supply chain has reaffirmed its commitment to recycling, following a meeting this week with Resource Minister Dan Rogerson. 

The meeting, which brought together leaders from across the plastic packaging supply chain, highlighted successes to date, including exceeding ambitious recycling targets, increasing the percentage of recycled content used in new products and introducing innovative technologies to allow more recycled plastics to be recycled again.

Attendees recognised the challenges facing all those in the supply chain and discussed how the industry can build on successes to improve recycling rates and continue to surpass targets. Many plastic packaging industry leaders – from retailers to milk bottling plants – have made a commitment to improve their recycling rates further under the Courtauld Commitment. This agreement aims to improve resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the grocery sector.

Dan Rogerson – “I welcome commitment from across the supply chain to deliver on the existing agreement. This week’s meeting makes clear our commitment to go even further, continuing to embrace new technology to make sure more recycled plastic is used throughout the supply chain”

The meeting also acknowledged the extraordinary achievement made by retailers and dairies under the Dairy Roadmap in working together to increase the recycled content of milk bottles to nearly 30%. All in the room expressed a desire to see this progress continue.

Following the meeting, Recycling Minister Dan Rogerson said: “The plastic packaging supply chain has worked very hard to increase the amount of packaging being recycled, with the full support of government.

“I welcome commitment from across the supply chain to deliver on the existing agreement. This week’s meeting makes clear our commitment to go even further, continuing to embrace new technology to make sure more recycled plastic is used throughout the supply chain.

Dan Rogerson, Resources Minister
Dan Rogerson, Resources Minister

“This industry-wide commitment to recycling is delivering real environmental benefits and also creating jobs, helping to build a stronger UK economy.”

Jim Moseley, interim director general at the Food and Drink Federation said: “Through our longstanding support for WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment, FDF members remain fully committed to helping deliver increased recycling levels of used packaging, particularly plastics. This forms part of the industry’s broader efforts to drive out waste and improve resource efficiency under our Five-Fold Environmental Ambition.

“The increase in plastics recycling seen so far is testament to what can be achieved through voluntary frameworks for action.  We are committed to working with our supply chain partners, WRAP and other stakeholders to help ensure we build on this success and that the final Courtauld 3 targets are met”.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC said: “We are aware of difficulties in the plastics recycling industry and are supportive of the principles of recycled content in packaging and products.

“Our members are signed up to a number of commitments in this area and will continue to work towards them, but recognise that this is a difficult market and greater attention needs to be paid to the long term sustainability of the UK recycling industry.”

CIWM Says

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) welcomed the statement today.

Steve Lee, chief executive of CIWM, said: “Over the last decade, significant efforts have been directed at building up the UK’s reprocessing capacity for recyclable materials, and particular progress has been made on plastics recycling. This success has been built on co-operation and commitment from the whole supply chain, including local authorities, the packaging supply chain and the retail sector. Global market conditions may be challenging at the current time, but it is essential that this progress is maintained and supported, and CIWM welcomes Defra’s strong statement to this effect today.

Steve Lee, CIWM – “Ultimately, the imperative goes beyond simply meeting targets and legal obligations, it is about ‘tooling up’ to ensure that the UK directly reaps the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and resource efficiency”

“The statement rightly highlights the commitment to the use of recycled content that the packaging and retail supply chain has made through a range of voluntary agreements and CIWM applauds the step change that these commitments have delivered.

“However, now is the time when action really counts as the plastics markets experience unprecedented challenges. Ultimately, the imperative goes beyond simply meeting targets and legal obligations, it is about ‘tooling up’ to ensure that the UK directly reaps the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and resource efficiency. It is also about delivering a very positive message to consumers that their recycling efforts are making a difference here at home.

“Seeing recycling at work in the form of products and packaging with recycled content on the supermarket shelf provides a tangible everyday example that helps encourage behaviour change and drive greater participation in recycling.”


 

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