Each of the Material Flow reports estimates the quantity of the respective packaging material placed on the market (POM) and recycled in 2017, potential future levels to 2025 and the likelihood of compliance with national and European recycling targets.
The reports show that in comparison to previously published Material Flow reports glass, paper & card and steel packaging POM in 2017 are estimated to have all increased by 4%.
Aluminium POM is estimated to be 11% higher while wood POM is estimated to have declined by 1% (the margin of error of the POM estimates range from 7% to 12%).
Each report takes the estimated POM together with latest recycling data for 2017 and makes a projection of the potential changes between 2017 and 2025.
The Material Flow reports highlight the potential risks to meeting each packaging material recycling targets, and so it’s important for industry to be aware that further actions may be required to ensure that future recycling targets are met
The results from the four reports indicate that:
- aluminium and paper & card packaging are expected to meet their recycling targets in 2018, 2019 and 2020. They are also expected to meet their proposed material specific Circular Economy Package (CEP) targets in 2025;
- wood packaging has a moderate possibility of meeting recycling targets in the period 2018 to 2020. There are no targets set for wood packaging recycling beyond 2020 other than the CEP target of 25% in 2025 for which wood packaging is already meeting;
- steel packaging is expected to meet recycling targets in 2018 and 2019, but to fall short in 2020. There are no targets for steel packaging set beyond 2020 and it is estimated that steel packaging is already meeting the proposed CEP recycling target of 70%; and
- glass packaging recycling is expected to fall short of recycling targets in 2018, 2019 and 2020. However, the proposed CEP target of 70% in 2025 is likely to be met.
According to WRAP economist Peter Sainsbury: “The Material Flow reports highlight the potential risks to meeting each packaging material recycling targets, and so it’s important for industry to be aware that further actions may be required to ensure that future recycling targets are met.”
Policies proposed in Defra’s Resource & Waste Strategy and consulted on in early 2019 are intended to promote higher recycling while also ensuring that sustainable end markets for the recovered and recycled materials exist. The data uncovered by the Material Flow reports are important in helping Defra develop these policies further.