A consultation launched last month by Defra is seeking views on proposed changes to the Waste Packaging and Batteries regulations. The consultation is also seeking views on the current plastic recycling targets of 52% for 2016 and 57% for 2017.
For ecosurety this multi-regulation consultation is a chance to ensure that the recycling market’s broad dynamics, and the aligned interests of all its recycling partners, are properly understood by the policymakers – and for the legislation to be shaped in the best possible way.
For the benefit of the producer companies we support and all our best-in-class recycling-industry partners, we of course support improved UK recycling performance and accuracy. We also want to see higher quality recycleate. But as it stands there are political obstacles that could scupper certain elements – particularly a full plastics recycling review.
Why? The main stumbling block lies in Europe looking at how to implement a 60% EU-wide recycling target in the next five years; plus we are also experiencing a lull in UK political decision-making until the next government is in place. There is also the question of the will of the recycling industry to change the way it can report and credit itself for recycling through the PRN system.
A chance to engage
ecosurety will spend the remaining weeks until the consultation closes on 22 May engaging with its UK recycling partners and trying to put across the crucial issues to Defra.
The aim is to ensure the longer term recycling objectives and business needs are met. This will keep the UK recycling system healthy, while also being fair for producers with plastic PRN obligations.
The consultation was launched in March, just after the release ofthe Plastic Flow 2014 report which revealed that amount of plastic packaging placed onto the market in 2013 was around 330,000 tonnes down on forecasts. Regarding targets, Defra has said the government “wishes to better understand what impact this change in understanding of the flow figure is likely to have on business’ ability to meet its legal obligations.
The picture in plastics
Plastic is also a hot topic in the packaging world, with the Recycling Association recently reacting strongly to claims from the British Plastic Federation (BPF) that the struggles endured by plastics recycling firm Closed Loop Recycling illustrate the need for change in the PRN system.
The Recycling Association said: “We need a strong UK recycling infrastructure and we need to find ways of supporting it, but to propose distorting the markets by manipulating the PRN system is a very dangerous short-term solution.”
Want to find out more about packaging or how any potential changes may affect compliance for your business? You can get in touch with the ecosurety compliance team by emailing email@example.com or calling 0845 094 2228.
ecosurety was set up in 2003 (originally as Budget Pack) and specialises in sustainable business practice, driving efficiencies at every level for its 1,000-plus UK member companies.
Its market-leading integrated services span sustainable strategy, waste, compliance and intelligent reporting. In 2014 the company received the Institute of Directors' Corporate Responsibility Award for the South West.
By shaping and supporting best practice in waste and recycling ecosurety is driving greater efficiency in the resource cycle and reducing demand for raw materials. By 2020 ecosurety is targeting influence over 1 million tonnes of waste.
Innovation and policy director
Robbie is innovation and policy director at Ecosurety. Having spent years building an intimate understanding of the industry’s policies and politics, he uses this knowledge to help shape new legislation and oversees Ecosurety’s growing portfolio of cross-industry innovation projects including Podback and the Flexible Plastic Fund. He has worked closely with Defra during the most recent packaging consultations, outlining the impacts and required transitional arrangements of the UK’s new EPR system and is a member of the government’s Advisory Committee on Packaging (ACP). He is also a spokesperson for the company and regularly uses his influence to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility to external stakeholders.
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