Barry Turner speaking at the event
At a reception held in the House of Commons, the leader of the Packaging and Films Association (PAFA) said the plastics industry needed “help from Government” if it is to successfully form long-term goals to achieve the UK’s recycling targets and compete with its neighbours in Europe.
Speaking at the event, which was organised by PAFA, the British Plastics Federation and Plastics 2020 and included a number of industry stakeholders, Barry Turner said “short-term goal setting” was appearing “too often” in policy formation regarding recycling and “inconsistent signalling” was discouraging manufacturers from investing in the UK.
Turner praised the progress the UK has made, highlighting those councils that had made significant headway in preventing waste from landfill. However, he warned that there were still “a number of challenges” ahead if the industry was to meet the targets set.
“Where we lack substantially is the overall diversion of landfill,” Turner said. “The fact that some councils in this day and age do not offer any sort of collection or recycling is a sin.”
Turner said joined up targets on a local level, harmonisation of collection schemes and advice on best practice were some of the key actions the industry needs help from the Government in being able to achieve.
“We look to Government to show some leadership and strategic vision, again, we need leadership in specifying recycled content and recycling itself. It is more than setting targets.”
Turner also said that the UK needed to recognise there is a place for getting energy from waste, adding that the country fell “woefully short” in comparison to the “best in class” in Europe in this area. “Countries like Switzerland, Germany and Austria, in fact, there are 10 European countries that send less than 10 percent of their waste to landfill. We need to be joining them,” Turner commented.
Also speaking at the event on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Dr Colin Church, a Director for climate, waste and atmosphere, said in terms of the industry meeting its targets, Government clearly had a “pivotal role”, but it was not one it “could or should be doing on its own” and that working together with the industry and businesses was “vital.”
Chairing the event was Mark Pawsey MP, Chair of the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group’ (APPG) for the Packaging Manufacturing Industry, who praised the industry’s progress in areas such as lightweighting, as well as the success of the ‘Fresher for Longer’ campaign, which he said was a “great example” of how packaging could help families in difficult economic times.