U.K. government confirms it will impose higher recycling goals for packaging during 2013-2017; Eco Plastics chief says the targets need supports, such as bank financing, ensuring the Packaging Recovery Note system no longer favors exporters

LOS ANGELES , March 22, 2012 () –

The U.K. government’s intention to adopt regulations later this year for higher packaging recycling targets was confirmed in its budget published on March 21, Packaging News reported the same day.

The budget indicated that the recovery goals for businesses will increase during 2013-2017 for all packaging materials except for paper, which is already at 81.9% recovery, as well as for wood, which is at 75.4%.

Overall, the packaging recovery rate is to go up by 1% annually, to 79% in 2017 from 74% in 2013, Packaging News reported.

Specifically, steel recycling is set to increase by 1%/year to 76% from 71%; aluminum, up 3%/year to 55% from 40%; and plastics, up 5%/year to 57% from 32%. Glass recovery goals are split into subcategories to increase the amount that is re-melted.

The increased recovery rates are intended to stop an estimated 400,000 tonnes of waste from being sent to landfills, while lowering costs for the recycling industry, said Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, reported Packaging News.

However, supports will be needed for the industry to make the investments necessary to accomplish the higher recovery targets, said Jonathan Short, managing director of Eco Plastics Ltd., a U.K. plastics recycler.

Short called for an end to the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) system’s favored treatment of “the exporter at the expense of the domestic re-processor,” better enforcement of “trans-frontier” shipments, and an effective campaign to promote recycling, Packaging News reported.

A reform of the PRN and the Packaging Export Recovery Note (PERN) system “goes hand in hand with the new targets to grow the industry,” said Chris Dow, CEO of British plastic recycler Closed Loop Recycling Ltd.

The “log jam in lending to green businesses” also needs to shift, said Dow, adding that he was expecting “further announcements from the U.K. Green Investment Bank” due to “some exciting infrastructure projects” now awaiting financing, reported Packaging News.

The U.K.’s Dept. for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which launched the consultation on the proposed recycling targets last December, indicated that the higher recycling rates would reduce demand for natural resources while boosting availability of recyclable materials.

Landfill restrictions for wood are being considered by the government and are to be announced later this year, Packaging News reported.

The primary source of this article is Packaging News, London, England, on March 21, 2012.


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