The Packaging and Films Association (PAFA) has said that the plastics industry will continue to be penalised by overly ambitious recycling targets, unless action is taken to increase infrastructure and secure better quality material.
The plastics industry met with Parliamentarians including Defra Minister, Lord de Mauley, and the Shadow Environment Minister.
In its review of the current situation the industry explained its apprehensiveness on progress towards meeting the challenging targets for plastics packaging recycling by 2017.
It pointed out that “without the infrastructure we were always in danger of failing and the first quarter figures released by the EA have served to emphasise how difficult it was to pursue ambitious targets with such disparate collection systems across the country and a lack of developed UK recycling and outlets for recycled materials”.
Barry Turner, PAFA – “If we don’t act we will continue to penalise the industry for overly ambitious targets”
In a recent survey of PAFA members showed that despite the higher recycling targets the majority of customers were still not demanding increases in recycled content and converters were wary of including it because of the difficulty in securing consistent quality.
“To stimulate demand for recyclate we have put proposals to government to revise the PRN system” said Peter Davis of the British Plastics Federation, who said some retailers have already responded favourably to this
In addition, work done by WRG, in its annual survey of kerbside collections, still showed the amount of plastics collected by councils at the UK kerbside varies between zero and 56kg per household with a median of only 12 kg.
“Clearly, given the will, it is in the power of local councils to collect more plastics for recycling and prevent this valuable resource going to landfill,” said Kim Christiansen of Plastics Europe.
As PRN costs have soared fourteen fold, industry says it is becoming obvious that something needs to change and the BPF, PAFA and Plastics Europe called on government to act on four fronts:
- Take action to bring to an end the disparate collection performance across the country by councils.
- Greatly increase the Landfill Tax to drive recyclables away from landfill. The extra revenue to be ring-fenced for investment in more Recycling facilities and more Energy from Waste.
- Ensure that the Quality Action Plan is followed through and has teeth.
- Introduce incentives to reward purchasers of packaging for using more recycled content. Revise the PRN system to ensure it delivers targeted funds where most needed.
“If we don’t act we will continue to penalise the industry for overly ambitious targets”, said Barry Turner of PAFA.