Dr. Maurer giving his keynote address
Speaking at the RECOUP Plastics Recycling Conference and AGM recently, Dr. Helmut Maurer from the European Commission outlined its recent proposals and reflected that more attention should be on plastic as a specific waste stream.
He also questioned whether resources should really be addressed through waste policy, and indicated that a rethink could be needed for the development of separate resource policies.
Maurer noted that too much plastic is sent to landfill which could be used and recycled, and concluded that plastic is an ideal material to demonstrate that it is “possible and profitable” to move towards a circular economy model.
The event, held in Peterborough, also saw a video address from DEFRA Resource Minister, Dan Rogerson, confirming that he is passionate about the challenge and opportunity to deliver a step change in the recycling of plastics, and his support of RECOUP and the plastic supply and recycling chain in its ongoing work.
He also confirmed Government and public body commitment to work with the plastic industry to achieve recycling targets and realise a genuinely resource efficient economy.
In a separate address, RECOUP’s Chief Executive, Stuart Foster, pointed to figures made available by the Environment Agency, suggesting that of the estimated £28 million that was received for plastics PRNs in 2013, very little was allocated towards communications, despite initiatives such as ‘pledge4plastics’ being seen as critical to increasing household plastic recycling levels.
He identified that the RECOUP annual survey, due out soon, is likely to report household plastic packaging collection levels in the region of 475Kt for 2013, with further gains in the number of pot and tray collections and modest increases in bottle collections. It was also noted that the design for recyclability guidance would also be updated and re-issued before the end of the year.