The U.K. government has scaled back its plastics packaging recovery targets.
In outlining its 2016 budget, the U.K. government noted it would be resetting targets “to reduce the burden on business.” Brand owners working independently or as part of larger compliance programs have been responsible for meeting packaging recovery targets set by the government since extended producer responsibility legislation passed in 2007.
This year, the target will go from 52 percent to 49 percent, the government announced. From 2017 to 2020, the target will increase each year by two percentage points, reaching 57 percent by 2020. That 57 percent number was the target originally slated for 2017.
The British Plastics Federation had called for a 48 percent recovery rate target for 2016 and annual increases of one percentage point for 2017 through 2020, Recycling International reports.
The lower targets were reported on by the Guardian, among other media outlets.
Plastics recycling trade group RECOUP is in support of the changes, Steve Morgan, the group’s technical manager, told Plastics Recycling Update.
“The changes, in reality, progressively build on the increases and successes the U.K. has experienced in collecting and recycling plastics, while depressurizing the plastics recycling industry,” Morgan said over email. “The momentum in the U.K. is moving in the right direction but it must move in a sustainable way to produce higher quality recycling materials to go into a range of markets and end destinations.”
In December, the U.K. government released updated waste and recycling statistics that showed the U.K. recovered about 32 percent of plastic packaging from households in 2013.
Meanwhile, a report published this week by WRAP noted “the sustainability of end markets is a concern for brands, manufacturers, local authorities and reprocessors.” WRAP’s research did point to growth in plastic recycling throughout the U.K. and “a wide range of end-market sectors and applications potentially available for UK collected plastic.”