Stuart Foster, RECOUP CEO
The CEO of RECOUP said “action must follow talk” regarding joined-up working and true partnerships in the UK’s recycling industry.
Making the comments at the recycling organisation's 25th anniversary conference recently, Stuart Foster also noted the upcoming EU plans on reforming regulation under a circular economy banner would shape recycling and resource management for the next decade and beyond.
The conference, held in Peterborough was attended by over 200 guests from across the plastic, packaging and recycling chain, who watched a number of presentations and debates on issues including mandatory recyclate content in goods, the call for strong leadership and direction from Europe, as well as the call for increased action from DEFRA in England to match the ongoing good work in Scotland and Wales on resources and recycling.
The Conference was opened by BBC Countryfile’s Tom Heap, who chaired the ‘leaders panel’ tackling the question of whether plastic is a sustainable resource.
A debate followed on customer confusion, with Heap highlighting the use of the ‘Green Dot’ symbol as being a “red herring”, as there are so many symbols on packaging it was difficult for people to understand. To further illustrate this, Heap asked, “if I’m unsure what to recycle and what not to then should the item be put in with recycling, or in the general waste”? This led to differing opinions from the panel, even those within the industry still unable agree on the response to this fundamental question.
Other notable highlights included Phil Conran, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Packaging, who commented on speculation that the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system was likely to be replaced and insisted that the system was simply ‘under review’.
There was also a view of recycling’s future from Veolia’s Richard Kirkman, as well as a
presenatation from Sandy Roger of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who outlined the need for aligned collections as the current situation of separate requirements for individual council’s increases confusion.
The conference reached a conclusion with RECOUP and WRAP announcing how their initiatives, ‘Pledge 4 Plastics’ and ‘Recycle Now’, will be working together to promote plastics recycling. There will be a new Plastics Resources Pack with new communications resources, and some exciting new initiatives planned in October and November.
A provisional date of 29th September 2016 has been planned for next year’s conference.