The wide world of recycling

The wide world of recycling

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

The plastics industry in the U.K. gripes about new government-imposed recycling targets and Denmark's container deposit system is facing serious budget cuts.

In the U.K., the plastics industry is criticizing a government mandate to double the amount of plastic collected for recycling in five years. According to the British Plastics Federation, the government plan includes no viable plans on how to achieve this target.

The government has set targets to raise the recycling rate from its current 32 percent to 57 percent by 2017, prompting the British Plastics Federation to issue a statement claiming that this goal is unrealistic without significant investment in the logistics of collection and recycling.

"In answer to recent parliamentary questions, the government continues to say that the onus is on packaging producers to ensure that enough material is collected but in reality it is local councils that control collection," said Barry Turner, CEO of the Packaging and Films Association. "The fact is that, in the absence of resource-based recycling targets, there is no incentive for councils to invest in collection services – even less so when their budgets are already stretched to the limit."

According the federation, the plastics recycling capacity in the country would need to be increased by an additional 512,000 tons to meet the target.

"The result of this ill thought out and fragmented approach will be that the companies obligated under these targets will be left to foot the bill for recycling that can't be delivered," said Philip Law, public and industrial affairs director of the British Plastics Federation, in a prepared statement. "This is a no-win for everybody including the Government who will have to explain their failure in the future."

In Denmark, certain bottles and cans might cost more as a result of the government's plan to cut funding for the stewardship organization that manages the Scandinavian country's container deposit system. Dansk Retursystem, the non-profit organization that oversees deposits, is facing a 64 million kroner ($11 million) shortfall in funding, which could impair its operations, reports The Copenhagen Post.

The paper quotes an official from Dansk Retursystem saying that the cut could result in reduced return rate and higher prices for consumers. Additionally, several projects being undertaken by the organization, including unmanned collection stations that allow consumers to redeems all their bottles and cans at once, might be put on hold if the cuts go through.

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