A 26-strong delegation from the Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster visited the UK recently to study the UK plastics industry’s waste management systems, particularly the operation of plastics recycling.
Hosted by the British Plastics Federation (BPF), representatives from all interest groups in the Danish waste management network participated in a forum chaired by Peter Davis, BPF Director General, including plastics packaging manufacturers such as Faerch Plast, local authorities such as Frederiksberg and Odense, as well as industry consultants.
A key point that emerged from the discussions was the changing mood of the Danish waste management scene. Denmark has been notable for the high proportion of energy going to waste, but the shape of legislation is shifting, with a demand for higher levels of recycling, consistent with the drift of EU legislation.
It was pointed out that UK recyclers could potentially play a role in helping Denmark step up its plastics recycling efforts. Today in Denmark, there is a marked shortage of recycling capacity.
Jonathan Short, Deputy Chairman of Ecoplastics, presented perspectives on the current plastics recycling scene in the UK and stressed its international nature. He explained the operation of the PRN scheme underpinning the UK Packaging Producer Responsibility Regulations, which he believes are in “dire need” of reform.
Short said: "It is encouraging that Denmark no longer views used plastic as waste and there are plans in place to reduce their reliance on burning this valuable resource.”
Davis outlined the BPF's overall support of the Plastics 2020 Challenge initiative alongside PlasticsEurope and PAFA. He welcomed Kim Michael Christiansen, the Director of PlasticsEurope's Northern Region, himself of Danish nationality, and said that this was an excellent example of the exchange of best practice experience that Plastics 2020 wants to encourage.