The launch of PIRAP, with supporting organisations, Plastics 2020 representatives and WRAP's Claire Shrewsbury
The ‘Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan’ (PIRAP) provides a co-operative strategy for the plastic packaging supply chain to take action and contribute towards achieving the UK government’s target for obligated users – of 57 percent plastic packaging recycling by 2017, by developing a resilient and sustainable plastics recycling sector in the UK.
PIRAP highlights a number of areas where improvements could be made to develop end markets for plastics recyclate, enhance collection rates, adopt best-in-class collection methods, optimise sorting infrastructure and improve design.
Launching the plan, Claire Shrewsbury, Packaging Programme Manager at WRAP, explained to realise the full benefits of plastics recycling, and achieve the targets, the whole supply chain must “work together to achieve a common outcome.”
The plan, she said, will “drive this kind of collaboration and strengthen links across the entire plastics supply chain, ensuring more valuable plastic is recycled into second life applications.”
End markets, Shrewsbury added, are not necessarily plastic packaging applications, but “many other products” that would benefit from the use of recycled materials.
“We need to be engaging with players outside the packaging industry to help them understand that this is a great material and they should be taking it and using it in their products going forward,” she explained. “Yes, there’s a role back into packaging, but it doesn't have to be packaging-to-packaging.”
Commenting on PIRAP, Philip Law, Director-General of the British Plastics Federation said recycling is an essential component of the UK’s “sustainability story.”
“It’s a great achievement to secure an agreed document in an area that has become a political football,” Law said. “Plastics packaging recycling levels are a function of so many factors and the support of a very large number of organisations has to be harnessed to make significant progress.”
Kim Christiansen, Regional Director North PlasticsEurope added: “The proposed UK 2017 plastics recycling targets represent a great challenge to industry in taking it from a mid-performing to one of the top performing member states in Europe. To help rise to this challenge PlasticsEurope and its 2020C partners welcome the support of WRAP and Defra in helping us work with the value chain in order to drive the UK towards this goal”
Barry Turner, PAFA’s Chief Executive, also added: “Despite the ink on the final document being barely dry I am pleased to see that so many stakeholders have come forward this looks promising for the next steps which need to focus on actions to support the achievement of these challenging targets”.
In addition to the confirmed supports, plastics recycler, Axion, also pledged its support of the plan by signing up at the launch ceremony.
Plastics 2020 will be engaging directly with the main trade bodies representing stakeholders, and other relevant stakeholders, in order to establish a number of joint actions that can be taken to ensure the year on year growth in recycled plastics. This will cover all aspects of the packaging’s end of life cycle including collection, household participation, sorting, reprocessing, support for innovation, etc.
Find out more about PIRAP here.