The BPF has put forward a proposal to incentivise the use of recycled plastics
A new proposal has been put forward today (May 30) by the British Plastics Federation, with the aim of encouraging and incentivising the use of recycled plastics in UK manufacturing.
The paper’s origins come from the BPF’s Recycling Group (BPFRG) and its principles are shared across the whole Federation. The proposal sets out the importance of securing end markets for recyclate to achieve a sustainable green economy.
In 2012, the UK Government announced its aspiration to be the ‘greenest ever’ and set challenging recycling targets for the period to 2017. With regards to plastics packaging, this means in excess of an extra 0.5 million tonnes will need to be recycled which, effectively, represents a recycling rate of 42%.
Despite the success of recycling of certain waste streams such as plastics bottles, packaging recycling targets have been largely achieved to date by the export of plastic waste. There is however uncertainty about the sustainability of export markets, in particularly China, which is clamping down on low quality material. Another issue is the inequality of the PRN/PERN system, which creates no incentive to remove contamination prior to export, giving exports an advantage against UK reprocessing.
Consequently, the BPF think it necessary to create incentives to drive investment in recycling and UK manufacturing to increase usage of recycled polymers. The proposal recommends the principle of ‘offset’ against obligation under the concept of ‘producer responsibility’ in the waste sectors.
The main producers and manufacturers, packer/fillers, and retailers should, according to the BPF, be able to offset their PRN obligation by using and specifying recycled polymers. In this way, recycled polymers would not carry any obligation under the EU Packaging Directive.
Roger Baynham, Chairman of the BPFRG said: “We believe that the proposals contained in this paper will provide the much needed traction to develop end markets for recycled plastics which are so crucial given the uncertainties of the global waste markets and, in doing so, help deliver the UK Government’s business development, wealth creation and sustainability agendas.”