The Scottish Plastic Recycling Centre of Excellence Ltd (SPRCoE) has been awarded a £750k government contract to kick start Project RECORD.
A new plastic packaging tax is being introduced on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled content in 2022. Whilst the tax will provide a clear economic incentive for businesses to use recycled material in the production of plastic packaging, there is currently no existing standard method to determine the recycled content of a product. This means it will be difficult to enforce the tax practically when it launches.
Project RECORD will include the development of a new industry-led standard, working with the British Standards Institution (BSI). The development of this standard is crucial to ensure companies are taxed appropriately in proportion to the virgin plastic content used in products.
This is all part of the effort to reduce the use of virgin plastics, with Project Record motivated to create greater demand for recycled material by providing a standard to verify claims. Subsequently, it can stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, thus reducing pressure on landfill or incineration.
Industry-leading consortium of partners
This contract has been awarded by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), and SPRCoE will be leading seven other industry-leading consortium partners, including Impact Solutions, Ecosurety, Winton Material Science, University of Strathclyde: Advanced Materials Research Laboratory, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and, Durham University.
SPRCoE and project partner Impact Solutions have already demonstrated the feasibility to identify the percentage of recycled content in polypropylene, polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate using conventional test equipment. This includes looking into the thermal histories, additive inclusion and other properties of the packaging.
The combined expertise and state-of-art testing facilities of Project RECORD’s consortium will accelerate the research and development of a technical method that will allow spot checking and verification of claims. It will further optimise the due diligence process in conjunction with financial and record auditing. SPRCoE have revealed that they aim to provide an accreditation scheme post-project in order to support the plastic packaging industry.
Harnessing innovation and creativity
Ecosurety will support the project by liaising with packaging producers to provide a variety of real-world materials to test the project methodology against and will assist with stakeholder workshops in the future as the project develops.
Gareth Morton, Discovery manager at Ecosurety, commented "This critical project is pulling together industry leading expertise to provide a much needed solution to a timely and significant problem - to provide an industry standard that can validate if plastic packaging contains at least 30% recycled content, ensuring the plastic packaging tax is implemented in a fair and accurate manner."
"Ecosurety is ideally placed to coordinate the sourcing of test materials from a wide variety of packaging producers for Project RECORD and we also look forward to engaging in the industry stakeholder workshops."
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan commented "Reaching our net zero goal will mean harnessing the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurs across the country, which is why I am thrilled to see Innovate UK backing these excellent projects across the UK."
"It is precisely this kind of ingenuity which will help us to build back greener from the pandemic. I look forward to seeing how these projects make the most of this funding in the months and years ahead."
If you would like to find out more about this project please contact our team.
Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.