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Better Recycling Management For Rigid Plastics

Rigid plastics such as those used for pots, tubs and trays, must be collected in greater volumes in order to meet recycling management targets for packaging.


Improving Recycling Management For Plastics


In a comment made by the Foodservice Packaging Association, at their annual environment sector seminar on January 16th, packaging targets for rigid plastics were reviewed. The session, which looked at the key issues impacting those who use and supply foodservice packaging, highlighted the challenges that faced the sector. Plastic and glass recycling were scrutinised by the FPA, with the compliance scheme’s policy director, Mr Hawkes, giving an overview of the packaging waste recovery note (PRN) system.

By 2017, recycling targets for plastics will be subject to a “steep increase”, rising from 42% in 2014 to 57% in 2017. Whilst this is considered a large step for those who deal with the recycling management of plastics, concerns have been raised that in order to remain compliant with the EU targets, the UK must double their offering. Commenting on the proposed increase, Mr Hawkes said “On plastic we can see there is a really very significant increase on the way in the plastic target that is required from around 30% to over 50% by 2017. This is a very steep increase indeed...the questions that many people are asking is how feasible is that?”


The PlasFlow Report: Making Targets Achievable


The PlasFlow 2017 reportby WRAP mapped out the current flow of plastic packaging from consumption through to the end markets. This investigated scenarios for annual growth and a number of potential compliance schemes for meeting the 2017 plastics target.

To meet the current 2017 targets, 1,200,000 tonnes of plastic is required – this is 550,000 tonnes more that what is currently collected through recycling management schemes here in the UK. Taking into account data from primary and secondary resources, the PlasFlow report estimates that the UK would need to recycle 305,000 tonnes of post-consumer plastics, including pots, tubs and trays, in order to meet the 2017 target. This is an increase of 200,000 tonnes from 2011.

Summarising the findings, Mr Hawkes said “The three main areas that have to increase are plastic bottles, other types of rigid plastics – so pots, tubs and trays – from the household sector but also from the commercial and food service sectors. Lastly there is commercial stretch film to tap into. So with those we would get there but it is not going to be easy.”

Whilst the potential targets were reviewed, Mr Hawkes was unable to clarify the consequences of failed compliance. When questioned about the costs involved for businesses if they did not meet their targets, Hawkes said “In terms of costs it certainly isn’t going to get any cheaper but because of the way the targets have gradually increased, even though it is a high end point, having the ability to plan ahead really helps to stabilise the costs.”


Improve Recycling Management Within Your Business


Stay on top of changes in legislation and targets with Recycling Services. We can help in all aspect of you recycling management, helping you to reduce and prevent waste before it occurs. Following the principles set out in the waste hierarchy, we can enable your business to achieve its recycling targets and remain compliant.

For more information about our services call 01952 204471 or email

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